Health Secretary Steve Barclay tells NHS bosses to stop wasting money on diversity staff… and hire more doctors!
- Health Secretary Barclay tells NHS to axe diversity officers or explain their value
- Mr Barclay said to have acted after seeing advert for officer on £96,300 salary
- NHS also told to stop paying for external diversity advisers, like Stonewall
The Health Secretary has slammed NHS bosses for wasting taxpayers’ money on costly diversity officers rather than spending it on frontline care.
Steve Barclay yesterday told managers to axe the posts or publicly explain why they think they are more valuable than doctors and nurses.
In a letter to health leaders, he also told them to stop paying fees to external diversity advisers, such as controversial LGBT+ group Stonewall. Mr Barclay is understood to have acted after discovering a hospital is trying to recruit a ‘director of equality, diversity and inclusion’ on a salary of up to £96,376.
The job advert, which was still live last night, comes months after he ordered health agencies and trusts to ensure they were delivering value for money.
The Health Secretary has already slashed one in six jobs at the Department of Health and Social Care as part of an efficiency drive, and it has no standalone diversity roles.
Steve Barclay wrote to NHS managers telling them axe diversity officers or publicly explain why they think they are more valuable than doctors and nurses
The Health Secretary has already slashed one in six jobs at the Department of Health and Social Care as part of an efficiency drive
Mr Barclay’s letter, sent to the chairmen of England’s integrated care boards, said: ‘In the department, we have been focused on delivering efficiency so that we can move resources from the back office to the frontline.
‘Other parts of the health family, including NHS England, are also making progress on this. I am therefore concerned that many local NHS organisations are actively recruiting into dedicated DE&I [diversity, equality and inclusion] roles.
‘Current live adverts include jobs with salaries of up to £96,376, which is above the basic full-time pay for a newly promoted consultant.
‘I do not consider that this represents value for money, even more so at a time when budgets are under pressure as we work to tackle the backlog left by the pandemic.’
University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust is looking to recruit a full-time director of equality, diversity and inclusion on £83,571 to £96,376 a year. The job description says: ‘You will lead our ambition that equality and equity of access is a thread throughout all that we do.’
Matthew Taylor, of the NHS Confederation, said that the NHS needed to more to explain to the Health Secretary what ‘a focus on equality and diversity makes to our staff and patients’
A source close to Mr Barclay said: ‘NHS cash should be spent on frontline patient care and not wasted on woke backroom bureaucracy. ‘The Heath Secretary has got rid of dedicated diversity staff from the department – now the NHS should do the same.’
Sir Julian Hartley, chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents NHS trusts, said: ‘Equality, diversity, and inclusion can help create an NHS-wide culture where leaders feel equipped to deal with all forms of discrimination.’
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents healthcare organisations, added: ‘We clearly need to do more to assist Mr Barclay’s understanding of the contribution that a focus on equality and diversity makes to our staff and patients.’
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