CONSULTANTS in south Warwickshire have pocketed nearly £2million in overtime in the past year – more than double the amount paid out in 2014.
South Warwickshire Foundation Trust (SWFT) paid £1.8 million to 103 consultants for evening and weekend work in the last year.
The overtime figures have more than doubled from two years previously, when 80 consultants were paid a total of £900,000 in overtime.
But the trust – which currently employs 153 consultants – has defended the figure saying it reflects the demand for a seven day NHS.
A spokeswoman from the trust – which runs hospitals in Warwick, Leamington, Stratford and Shipston – told the Observer: “Providing safe, effective care is our main priority.
“Across the NHS, trusts are aiming to deliver consistent services to patients seven days a week. To support this we have increased the medical care available, resulting in a rise in consultant overtime.
“This resulted in the trust being the best performing in a national audit of seven day services last year. We are continuously working with clinicians to ensure that our services are both safe and cost effective.“
With the average salary of a consultant being nearly £90,000, their pay could be bumped up to nearly £110,000 thanks to overtime payments.
Most consultants earn around £40 per hour, but this goes up to some £65 for extra work.
The British Medical Association say the figures show a shortage of consultants and a need for a long-term plan to tackle the problem.
Spokesman Dr Keith Brent said: “What these figures lay bare is the extent of consultant shortages in many areas. There simply aren’t enough consultants to meet the level of demand on services.
“Consultants are routinely working four to six hours of overtime on standard rates, as well as several unpaid hours each week. The payments we are seeing here is for even more work on top of that.
“In the short term, hospitals should reduce the reliance on overtime by recruiting the number of staff required to do the job. But what we urgently need to see is a long term strategy for the NHS which addresses the workforce, workload and funding challenges which are overwhelming our health service.”