NHS bosses spend almost £10,000 a week on rail fares for managers – while moaning about lack of funds for patient care.
They splashed out taxpayers’ money on 4,000 return tickets last year to travel between two offices in London and Leeds, expenses claims show.
Anti-waste campaigners yesterday called for fewer face-to-face meetings and more video link-ups to cut down on journeys.
Last year NHS England, the quango in charge of dishing out billions of pounds in health service funding, spent £505,000 on train tickets.
About 75 journeys a week were for the 400-mile round trip between its offices in Leeds and the capital..
In one case, officials spent £294 on a standard class return, but a ticket can be bought for as little as £36.
But furious MPs say say the money would be better spent on cutting waiting times and making life-saving drugs more widely available.
Tory MP Alan Mak said: “The government is investing heavily in the NHS to fund frontline services and boost the number of doctors and nurses.
“Quangos should think carefully before spending every pound, and use technology to facilitate meeting where possible.”
NHS England, which has around 5,000 employees is headed by £195,000-per-year Simon Stevens, who complained that the Government needed to put more money into the health service.
It has two major offices for its employees, one in South London, while its headquarters is in Quarry House, Leeds.
The organisation’s total travel budget for last year has been revealed at £26.7million, with its rail fare spend increasing from £14.7m two years ago to this year’s figure of £20.3million, a rise of almost 40percent.
It also spent £4.6million on car use for business trips and £245,000 on flight tickets, including £3,035 for just one economy ticket to fly an employee from Boston, in the US, to London.
NHS England has also revealed that it mistakenly paid £42,818 too much to one of its executive board members and then failed to claw it back as quickly as it had hoped.
Professor Bruce Keogh, National Medical Director, received the payments in error and it was planned for them to be paid back in 2016, but now the cash is being recouped a year later.
James Price, Campaign Manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “We are always being told about how the NHS needs ever greater amounts of money and how there is no more fat left to trim, but stories like this hint at the colossal waste in the NHS.
“These managers should make much better use of video technology and should be much more mindful when splashing taxpayers’ cash on unnecessary travel costs.”
An NHS England spokesman said: “NHS England has staff based all over England, and it is sometimes necessary for them to be out talking to patients, clinicians and other parts of the NHS.
“It is far cheaper for taxpayers to have some national staff based in Yorkshire with the occasional train trip elsewhere, than to pay London wages and supplements.
“What’s more, all travel is standard class, administrative costs are less than 2p in every pound of NHS funding, and our chief executive takes a voluntary £20,000 a year pay cut compared with his predecessors.”
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