A struggling NHS health authority was condemned after it spent £10,000 of taxpayers’ cash on a survey asking staff – if they thought HITLER was ‘cool’.
The bizarre questionnaire also asked workers to compare the Nazi dictator to their OWN Chief Executive.
Workers were asked to rate the ‘coolness’ of other leaders including Richard Branson, Gordon Brown, Winston Churchill and England manager Fabio Cappello.
The survey – entitled ‘Making Leadership Cool’ – was rubber-stamped by NHS West Midlands Strategic Health Authority.
Health chiefs forked out £10,000 to fund the project after two paramedics at West Midlands Ambulance Service applied for a bursary to carry out the survey.
It was circulated to all 3,300 workers at West Midlands Ambulance Service at the end of last month.
Health chiefs will use the results – which form part of a year-long study – to develop a ‘Leadership Development Programme’ to be published next April.
Staff were asked how ‘cool’ they thought Chief Executive Ian Cumming was on a scale of 1-5.
Under Mr Cumming’s name, workers were then asked to rate the coolness of Adolf Hitler.
Workers were also asked if being gay, funny or black made a leader cool.
Workers and taxpayers’ blasted the seven-question survey, branding it ”an appalling waste of money”.
One worker, who did not want to be named but had worked for the Ambulance Service for over 10 years, said: ”I’ve never been asked to compare my boss with Adolf Hitler before.
”It’s the most bizarre work survey I’ve ever had to take. How can being cool have anything to do with managing an NHS ambulance trust?”
Former worker Steve Jetley, 54, campaigned to save an emergency control centre in Shropshire after it was axed because of budget cuts.
He said: ”It is an appalling waste of money. There are so many things that the NHS as a whole, and the ambulance service specifically, need to spend money on.
”An ambulance is operating in Shropshire with more than 300,000 miles on the clock.”
Mr Jetley has now set up a website – www.howcoolishitler.net – in protest at the survey.
He added: ”The service is also trying to make savings by asking staff to find the cheapest petrol for vehicles and yet money can be found for this sort of research.”
Taxpayers also expressed outrage at the project, condemning it as ”utterly ridiculous.”
Fiona McEvoy, of the TaxPayers Alliance, said: ”This is an utterly ridiculous waste of taxpayers’ money.
”It’s pretty obvious what people are going to think of Hitler, and has nothing to do with the Ambulance service at all.
”This whole survey is absurd – taxpayers don’t care if public sector managers are cool, they just want a decent service.”
Incredibly, the West Midlands Ambulance Trust defended the survey, saying it ”identified the key characteristics of good leadership”.
A spokesman said: ”The project is important in identifying the key characteristics of good leadership, to allow the organisation and the wider NHS to be more efficient and effective which, in turn, will have a direct and positive impact on improving patient care.
”The project sought to discuss different styles of leadership and the characteristics of leadership to help staff at all levels develop their career.
”Staff were asked to look at different leadership styles and one of those was a dictatorial style.
”Adolf Hitler’s style galvanised a country into terrible things but it did galvanise a country.
”Perhaps in hindsight a better example could have been used.”