Thursday, July 28, 2016

Greedy ...or Pathetic?

375 thousand. Say it again very slowly. Three hundred and seventy five thousand. Lots of dosh, no? So we had the media with its opinion...usual suspects joined in. It does make one pass a smile. The rules of absolutes broke out in gay abandon as ever on social media- the mix of indignation, the conspiracy angles, the snide remarks about rich Consultants, hacks rolling the dice depending on which way the wind seemed to blow to get some click bait articles out...predictable as ever. A pattern which repeats itself ad nauseum.

So let's look at some things. Let's say for example, this information is perfect, without any nuances of what's been counted. Let's say this man/woman has earned that above their NHS salary. If one assumes that a waiting list initiative pays (let's be generous!!) £1000 for a 4 hour session, this person has worked EVERY SINGLE DAY ( and more) of the year- beyond his 9-5 job. A moment to pause. EVERY SINGLE DAY? Don't like that math..ok...try this, let's say he/she got paid £5000 for every weekend he did extra work. That would mean he worked ALL WEEKENDS of the year and still had to work on weekdays to earn that extra. That's how silly the maths is.
Point being? This person worked to earn it. He/She also paid top rate tax- (no chance of dodging as via NHS, innit?) So grudge him/her all you want for his/her money..spare a thought for the lack of anything else in her/his life.

Let's make this very clear. Earning money is a right. It's not a sin- as long as you do it within the laws of the land. This person has done it rightfully and to do it, has sacrificed a lot of their lives to do so. Good on them-and thank you for helping to see so many and keep waiting times etc down.
That's the system he/she works in. The question should be whether that's been done without compromising their NHS work- rather than gasping at how much they have earned.

Now let's look at "overtime money". Anything above 10 PA isn't overtime, if one gets paid 11 PA, the added PA isn't a separate rate. If you don't even know that about Consultant contracts, then refrain from debate and stop making yourself look like an absolute fool. Overtime money or whatever lazy label you want to put on it, is driven by having to pay folks extra money to do weekends...let's pause a that's not down to the opt out clause. Let me give 2 examples:

Example A: hospitals are busy, medicine patients overflow into surgical beds, operations get cancelled, the waiting times slip. As that is elective work, the hospital- under pressure of targets, are forced to pay more to locums, extra money to existing staff to come and work extra to clear the backlog. The new Consultant contract will focus on that but let's also be a bit honest. For hospitals, it's also tied with payment by results- whose revenue stream far outstrips what managers have to pay for WLI. Let's all not be naive about it. Or you could get rid of targets...I think that's already being whispered a bit more loudly nowadays.

Example B: emergency work- the fast holding belief that more Consultant time would increase flow of patients, the stern belief that paying more would result in getting patients our quicker- why? Because the 4 hour target means everything. Why pay more? Because folks are ALREADY doing weekends as it's not some thing that can be opted out of. Doh.

The point is that all this is circular and as I always say, if managers are not capable or equipped to even implement the present contract, then a change in it will do nothing. Lazy journalism is what it is- that's their job...that's what folks nowadays do- jumping onto bandwagons is part and parcel of the existence of journalists - exemplified none better than comments such as relating that to the linking of cutting of nurse bursary cuts to Consultant pay. I get paid 12 PAs at present ( no, that's not 10 PA plus overtime) and would happily give up 2 PA worth money to fund more nurses or support education. Do please let me know who will do my job though- as again evidently without me casting my messiah like shadow on the wards, no patient can go home. Evidently. 

You create a market, you reap what you sow. In present situations, you want targets and Consultant delivered services, then you have 3 choices:

Pay for existing Consultants to do more - and perhaps have a national tariff on it
Recruit more Consultants
Or accept that Consultants can't deliver everything- ergo be clear to public that others can deliver what Consultants could- albeit without the training or expertise.

 Till that is sorted, most Consultants I know greet such messages with a shrug of the shoulder. Without the Consultants, the system is jammed inside hospitals- THATS the culture we have created. We either scale back from that or live with what we have created. The culture of indignation at others earning done by legal means cannot be scoffed or mocked at based on ideology. Folks earn for their future needs, their family needs and also their own personal choi of lifestyle. Which one takes precedence depends on individuals and circumstances.

These are life choices folks make- whether to spend more time doing work or with their family. 
A 10 PA job with no other work could give you plenty of weekends in a year - if one chooses to do more to have a better quality of life, then we should respect that choice and their right to earn, not bathe ourselves in self righteous and pathetic indignation. 

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