Doctors at two scandal-hit NHS trusts were handed millions of pounds in bonuses for “clinical excellence”, new research shows.
Consultants at Morecambe Bay NHS Trust and Mid Staffordshire Trust were handed hundreds of bonuses worth a total of more than £7 m, campaigners have learned.
The awards, part of a bonus regime introduced by ministers in 2003, were intended to reward good treatment but came at a time when patients died at both hospitals due to poor care and weak leadership, reports have found.
Between 2005 and 2012, at least 259 Clinical Excellence Awards were given to staff at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust.
Awards were typically £10-15,000, with the total bill coming to £3.95m.
Between 2006 and 2010, at least 170 such awards were given to staff at Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust.
The awards to Morecambe Bay Trust came at a time when a “lethal mix” of failures at a “seriously dysfunctional” maternity unit at Furness General Hospital resulted in the deaths of 11 babies and one mother.
Morecambe Bay Trust declined to comment, saying it had been unable to verify the Taxpayers’ Alliance figures.
Jonathan Isaby, director of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “The government must take a very close look at this scheme and ensure that taxpayers’ money never gets wasted on bonuses for staff while patients are suffering.”