THE National Health Service has spent £1.5m paying for hundreds of its staff to have private health treatment so they can leapfrog their own waiting lists.
More than 3,000 staff, including doctors and nurses, have gone private at the taxpayers’ expense in the past three years because the queues at the clinics and hospitals where they work are too long.
Figures released under the Freedom of Information act show that NHS administrative staff, paramedics and ambulance drivers have also been given free private healthcare. This has covered physiotherapy, osteopathy, psychiatric care and counselling — all widely available on the NHS.
“It simply isn’t fair to have one service for staff and another for everyone else,” said Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat health spokesman, who obtained the figures.
“If the NHS has to circumvent their own waiting lists the system isn’t working well enough. It’s an admission by the NHS that their own system isn’t able to respond to the mass of people desperate to get back to work.”