Wednesday 13 January 2010


Did you know there was a quango called NHS Health Scotland? I didn't. It states on its website 'NHS Health Scotland is the national agency for improving the health of our population. We are a Special Health Board in NHS Scotland'.

So far so good. The NHS in Scotland should have an umbrella organisation which pulls the various health boards together - a Nanny Quango for the regular NHS and the population. Here's a clue to some of the work they do:

One of the key outcomes for the year was to recognise and support
disability equality across the NHS. This included the evaluation, revision and
dissemination of 20,000 Disability Tip Cards, which were distributed to
NHS boards to help practitioners communicate more effectively with people
with disabilities.

However it's Kenneth Roy who has brought this advert in the Drum (1 January) to my attention:

Health Scotland is looking to appoint a public affairs agency to represent it within the Scottish Parliament. The authority is looking to appoint the agency on a three-year contract, with the possibility of a 12-month extension after that period, to enhance and protect the reputation and profile of health improvement by establishing Health Scotland as an expert voice in health improvement and equality issues.
The appointment will be made through the Scottish Government's procurement system and has an estimated value of between £180,000 and £300,000.
Potential applicants must have at least three staff available to service the account and must demonstrate an understanding of health improvement topics while also having experience of working in integrated campaign and corporate communications.
Deadline for submissions is 18 January with invitations to tender expected to be dispatched on 1 February.

Kenneth states ' under the notice there is a reader's comment dated 2 January':

So let's get this right. One public service organisation is looking to pay an outside consultant £300K of the public's money to 'represent' it within another public service organisation? You can see why the public think the public sector is bloated, stupid and takes the p ***.

No further comment is required from me, except that you read his whole article where you will find there are 13 existing communications staff employed by Health Scotland (although 3 are part-time). The chief executive earns £115,000 a year and nine other staff earn more than £50,000 a year. The 2007/08 Annual Report is here.


Robert said...

'Morning Subrosa, hope you're well.
As I commented on the Hootsmon, they could raise their profile by dint of good hard work benefitting the people of Scotland.

If they don't have an internal "understanding of health improvement topics while also having experience of working in integrated campaign and corporate communications" then they should be shown the door and warned not to let it hit them on the erse (s'cuse me!) on the way out.


carrew said...

I've dropped a letter to Mr Swinney (he's my MSP and mr Finance, so has 2 counts on this) suggesting that he has a word with Ms Sturgeon and bangs some heads together to stop this waste of money happening.

Let's see what his response is.

subrosa said...

Morning Robert, I'm fine thanks and hope you are too.

I don't understand why we need such a large organisation to co-ordinate the NHS. 13 communication staff? If you look at their website you see the cost of all this to us (but not in great detail I have to say).

subrosa said...

Morning Andrew

You can email John, he's good at replying quickly.

I may follow your example. This is just nonsense.

Kenneth Roy really does a good job on these quangos. All credit to him.

carrew said...

I used the services of to send my note to John Swinney. It's an easy way to get in touch with any elected member.

subrosa said...

Yes Andrew that email is fine. It's the one I use too.

JRB said...

Good day Subrosa,

If ever evidence were required on the inefficiencies, ineffectiveness and ineptitudes of a state funded Quango. Then ‘NHS Health Scotland’ is guilty as charged.

When front-line NHS staff are fighting to preserve basic services to patients, this lamentable organisation is looking to spend £300,00 to improve it’s PR.

Are they spending this money to improve their image to patients – No!
Are they spending this money to improve their image to doctors and nurses – No!
They are spending this money to impress a few MSP’s.

NHS Health Scotland’ should be wound up with immediate effect and its budget and staff redistributed to where they could actually do some good.

“Never in the field of NHS care has so much naval gazing been done, by so few, at the expense of so many”

subrosa said...

Good afternoon John. Excellent comment if I may say so.

This quango was set up by the lab/libdem executive and I entirely agree it should be disbanded asap and the money used in front-line services.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

I want to suggest a new collective verb - An Onion of Quangos.

Peel layer after layer they all taste the same, smell the same and do little but add flavour while costing a lot and being mildly irritating on contact.

Clarinda said...

Having had a quick look at the interminable stream of eye-watering bumph produced by this outfit, who appear to sub-contract the work to other agencies and personnel, and the highly dubious effectiveness of endless paper exercises on the patently ****** obvious - does the title 'NHS Health Scotland' contravene the Trades Description Act?

Paying for an external company to put a gloss on their own trumpet shows up the defectiveness of their 'health' toot in the first place?

subrosa said...

The SNP said they'd have a bonfire of quangos Crinkly. I've yet to see the lit match.

subrosa said...

Clarinda, did you have a look at their annual report? Some money is spent on this crowd.

banned said...

As someone on Raadio 2 mentioned today in the great gritless scandal, some councils spend hundreds of thousands of pounds building up their grit stocks while overall they spend " £.5 Billion on communications". I don't want councils, or the NHS, to 'communicate'; I want them to grit the roads, and empty the bins.

subrosa said...

I think plenty would agree with you banned.

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