"Some consultants are making more than £100,000 a year in overtime payments from the NHS, the BBC has learnt. The sums - paid on top of basic salaries and bonuses - have been criticised at a time when the health service is trying to save money. Consultants have been accused of playing the system, but doctors said poor planning by managers was to blame. Overtime rates vary, but are often about £600 for four hours - treble what senior medics get for contracted work. Basic pay for consultants stands at just under."
Essentially the government promised a lot and couldn't deliver it without increasing the capacity of the system. To do this surgeons, anaesthetists and all the other staff had to be paid for doing this extra work, so that all the waiting time targets could be met. It is also key that none of this work is within their contracts, it is all outside the obligation of their consultant contracts, it is work in their 'free time', that is a more honest term for Triggle's 'overtime'.
It is certainly not 'overtime' as most people would understand it, but this is the story that the BBC's Nick Triggle's tries to spin to the reader. This is work which the NHS needed to get done and in order to get it done it had to pay the market rate.
Surgeons and Anaesthetists aren't going to work outside their contracted hours for much less, it may surprise Nick Triggle to know that in the private sector the very same consultants would probably be earning a hell of a lot more per hour than they are for this NHS 'overtime' work:
"Managers at Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust tried to reduce the rate for overtime for orthopaedic surgeons from £1,000 to £500 for a four-hour session. But minutes from official meetings showed consultants would be "downing tools" if they did so. In the end, managers had to compromise on a fee of £750."
This is down to simple market forces. If managers started offering way under what consultants can earn privately for extra work in their free time then they simply wouldn't do it, they are under no obligation to. It may surprise the dishonest or stupid Nick Triggle that Consultants can earn many hundreds of thousands of pounds for their private work, it can also be argued that they are underpaid in the NHS for the work they do.
The lame duck Alan Maynard is even brought in at the end of the article for a rent-a-quote to have a dig at doctors, maybe this bitter failed academic is just jealous of people who have a job they enjoy, I don't know. It remains clear that Maynard should be able to understand how the market forces he loves to go on about are at play with the pay for this extra consultant work, either he is stupid or dishonest like Nick Triggle.
It remains clear that this so called 'news' piece is just a rather lame misrepresentation of the reality of a situation in which a group of professionals are being paid a reasonable market rate for doing some extra work to clear the decks. Triggle and Maynard may like to think how much it costs to call in the plumber or the electrician at the weekend, they may also like to think how keen they would be to work extra weekends for their normal rate of pay? Mind you, I can't think of any reason for anyone needing Alan Maynard at a weekend, maybe that's why he's such a bitter individual? Either way, shoddy journalism all round I say.