NHS wastes logo checking ‘head of brand’ on almost £100,000
The NHS has employed a ‘Head of Brand’ on a salary of almost £100,000 a year to ensure its logo is being used appropriately.Sir David Nicholson, chief executive of the NHS, on Tuesday denied it was “frivolous” waste of money but admitted the job title was “rather unfortunate”.
The Leeds based position at the NHS Commissioning Board, which has a salary range of £77,079 to £97,478, has already been filled from within the health service.
Nicola Plumb, formerly deputy director of communications at the NHS Commissioning Board, has taken on the post in the last few weeks. Before that Ms Plumb was Sir David’s communications advisor.
Labour MP Barbara Keeley told Sir David it was the sort of thing that made the public “see red” as he faced questions from the Commons health select committee on efforts to make massive savings.
Sir David said the position was needed to make sure private providers “understand what it means to be part of the NHS…the culture and the values and treat their patients accordingly”.
“It’s really important to us and for patients to know that these organisations are signed up to these values and principles”, when they used the NHS logo, he told MPs on the Health Select Committee.
Ms Plumb, has a degree in politics from Durham University, an MA in public policy from York University and a diploma in strategic marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing.
She has recently joined Twitter, the social networking site, on which she describes herself as “passionate about the NHS”. However, she has yet to ‘tweet’ a message.
Jamie Reed, the shadow health minister, said people would be “shocked” at news of the appointment, a day after the Royal College of Nursing announced 6,000 nursing jobs had been lost since the general election.
He said: “The Government has rashly forced parts of the NHS into the private sector and they’re now hiring staff to check who’s using the trusted NHS logo. The NHS frontline is taking a battering as thousands of jobs are axed and ministers should get a grip on that instead.”
Speaking after the hearing, Worsley and Eccles South MP Ms Keeley said Sir David had “failed in his attempt to defend the development of a unit to promote the NHS ‘brand’ to the public.
“The NHS is a service not a brand,” she said. “My constituents will be unhappy to see a salary of nearly £100,000 attached to this sort of unnecessary post.That money should be spent on patient services.”
Tim Kelsey, the NHS national director for patients and information, said Ms Plumb would lead a team of customer relations executives who would ensure the board “never loses sight of its responsibility to patients”.
He said: “Their job will be to make sure patients and the public fully understand what the NHS can offer to them, by making sure the NHS communicates with them in ways which make sense to them and which they can access easily.
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