HC Deb 24 May 1994 vol 244 cc174-5
10. Mr. Ainger

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS trusts have cut any senior executives' pay following the establishment of a remuneration committee.

Dr. Mawhinney

That information is not available centrally.

Mr. Ainger

That answer does not surprise me, but several independent reports and monitoring services have suggested that when trusts move from general management control within the NHS to so-called independence, the senior executives receive very significant pay rises. Moreover, the independent monitoring services have identified the pay rises for 1992–93—the latest year for which trust accounts have been published—and found that some chief executives received increases in salary of 33 per cent. Is not it possible for the Government now to instruct the trusts to set up proper remuneration committees to ensure that that gravy train is ended?

Dr. Mawhinney

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman's trade union friends will be pleased by that pat on the back. On 28 April, the Secretary of State announced codes of conduct and accountability that require NHS bodies to establish audit and remuneration and terms of service committees. That happens to be the case. I shall give the hon. Gentleman some information for which he need not look to monitoring committees: for every manager in the health service there are 26 doctors and nurses and senior and general managers represent 2 per cent. of the work force and 3 per cent. of the wages bill. What is most important, and what the Labour party has again demonstrated that it does not understand, is the fact that the health service exists to deliver more patient care, of higher quality, and at greater convenience, year on year. That is what is happening, and managers are playing their part in making it happen.

Mr. Hayes

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the perpetual scaremongering by the Labour party does appalling damage to morale in the health service, where there is really a hell of a lot of good news? Is not that scaremongering nothing more than cynical manipulation of the fears of the elderly and frail?

Dr. Mawhinney

My hon. Friend should understand that Labour scaremongering is really embarrassment and an attempt to cover up the paucity of Labour health policy. The truth is that for every 100 patients treated in the year before the reforms, this year we expect to treat 121—a marvellous record. When the Labour party was in power, 1 per cent. more patients, on average, were treated in the health service each year. Since our reforms, more than 5 per cent. more patients, on average, have been treated per year. That is a measure of the co-operation of the doctors, the nurses, the other professionals and the managers in developing more and better health care.

Mr. Blunkett

How the Minister knows that, when he does not collect the information centrally, is beyond all of us. In view of his original answer—that the information is not collected centrally—perhaps he will tell us why the Gloucestershire royal trust, in a letter to me dated 13 April, said that it would not answer any questions from Opposition Front-Bench spokesmen—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—and would answer only to the NHS management executive? And does not that "Hear, hear" from Conservative Members reveal that the Conservative party has abandoned even the least pretence of believing in democracy?

Dr. Mawhinney

First of all, as the hon. Gentleman knows, the decisions of the trust are a matter for the trust. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] The decisions of the trust are a matter for the trust. As the hon. Gentleman and Labour Members continually denigrate the work of those who work in the health service, it may be that the trust has decided to side with those who work in the trust providing more and better patient care, rather than pampering to the political ideology of the Labour party.

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