Earlier today the Liberal Democrat Press team tweeted:
Does Andy Burnham remember the £12bn Labour wasted on a computer system that never worked? Could've paid 60,000 nurses for a decade instead—
Lib Dem Press Office (@LibDemPress) October 03, 2012
This struck me as odd.
The minimum starting salary for a NHS nurse is £21,176 (as of April 2012). Multiply this by 10 (‘a decade of employment’) and you get £211,176. Then multiply this by 60,000 (the number of nurses) and you get £12,705,600,000. That’s £705 million over budget.
Of course, this is worked out assuming all nurses just earn a starting salary. In the same pay band, a nurse could earn up £27,625. Equally, in the London area there is an additional 5-20% pay increase for nurses. Also, this calculation does not cover nurses with any sort of specialism who sit in higher pay brackets.
I don’t know what the average staff salary is in the NHS. If it was around £25,000 (to make my maths easy) then this would leave the Lib Dem claim £3billion over budget.
For £12 billion we could employ 48,000 nurses on an average of £25,000 over 10 years. 12,000 nurses less than they claimed.
Being kind, we will assume they ment to say “entry level nurses” – but even then they seem to have rounded down by £705 million.