UK & World News
NHS Managers Pocket £1.4bn In Pay-Offs
NHS chiefs have squandered £1.4bn on axing staff as part of David Cameron's shake-up of the health service, Labour have claimed.
Latest Department of Health figures show that over the past three years more than 32,000 NHS managers received "exit packages".
Of these, 330 people received pay-offs totalling more than £200,000, while just under 2,000 pocketed between £100,000 and £200,000.
The figures come in the same week that NHS workforce statistics show the number of nursing jobs lost since the election in 2010 has topped 5,000.
Labour claims the shortage of nurses is fuelling a waiting time crisis at A&E units and and leaving one in 10 hospitals without enough staff.
Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: "The true cost of David Cameron's NHS re-organisation is slowly revealing itself and it is enough to make people weep.
"At a time when the NHS needs every penny it can get, we have a Prime Minister handing out gold-plated, six-figure pay-offs to hundreds of managers and P45s to thousands of nurses. It stinks and begins to explain why, on Cameron's watch, A&E is in crisis and waiting lists have hit a five-year high.
"There could be no clearer illustration of a Prime Minister with his priorities seriously wrong. He has lined the pockets of management consultants and left one in 10 hospitals without enough staff on the wards.
"Billions have been siphoned out of the NHS front-line to pay for an unnecessary re-organisation no-one voted for and David Cameron personally promised would not happen.
"We are only in this position because Cameron was too weak to stand up to his old boss Andrew Lansley and allowed him to proceed with his vanity re-organisation.
"It is time for the Government to own up to the real cost of its disastrous NHS re-organisation. These payments show that official figures are under-estimating the true price-tag.
"People who are now waiting longer for operations, or seeing treatments denied, have a right to know about how this Government has chosen to spend scarce NHS resources."
A Department for Health spokesperson said: "Last year we started changes that put doctors and nurses in the driving seat as they are best placed to take decisions about care for their patients.
"The changes made as a result of the reforms mean a huge net gain for the taxpayer. They will save £5.5bn during this Parliament and £1.5bn every year thereafter, to be reinvested back into patient care."
Meanwhile, the Royal College of Midwives has claimed expectant mothers are being turned away from maternity wards because of severe staff shortages, which could last a decade.
It said a baby boom is putting strain on the system - the number of new births jumped by 7,000 between 2010 and 2012.