'NHS penpushers are paid £1.5m for doing nothing' the Daily Mail told its readers as the tabloids frothed earlier this week over news that the Department of Health is paying £1.5m to civil servants whose jobs have been made redundant.

The paper went on to blame the 'botched reorganisation' of the DoH, which it says has led to '85 officials being left jobless for six months'. The figures came to light in the publication of the DoH's 2007-08 business plan last week. According to the Mail it reveals that there are currently 35 'displaced' staff in the department and further work to match resources to activity will lead to the 'displacement' of 50 further staff in the current financial year.

The Daily Express followed suit, reporting the indignation of nurses' leaders who criticised the 'shameful' amount of NHS money that has been 'wasted on financial consultants instead of being invested in frontline care'.

The Express quoted Royal College of Nursing general secretary Dr Peter Carter, who said taxpayers' money had been wasted. 'Spending on overpaid consultants is shameful when there is only a small amount of money in the hold,' he said.

The Sun, meanwhile, quoted shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley: 'This is a clear example of the incompetence of Labour ministers in financial management. It is a cruel irony for the NHS that while Patricia Hewitt demands hospitals leave posts without people, she employs people without posts'.

Count your blessings while the tabloids' fire is trained on government rather than managers.