NHS Trusts Spent More Than £300m on Management Consultants Last Year
The Guardian reports that the figures show how primary care trusts and strategic health authorities, which are due to be abolished by 2013, spent large sums on paying private management consultants for their advice.
£300 million is almost the same amount of money that the NHS puts aside for skin cancer and lung cancer services combined. Consultants’ salaries were reportedly as much as £1,000 a day.
In London alone managers shelled out more than £114m last year on management consultants, almost double what they had spent two years previously and £30m more than the money spent on breast cancer services in the capital.
There has long been a suspicion of a “revolving door” between the private sector and the health service. John Lister of anti-cuts pressure group London Health Emergency said that health service executives brought in consultants who were then hired to be NHS bosses. He pointed out that Ruth Carnall, the £287,000-a-year chief executive of NHS London, was previously a freelance consultant to government departments, including the NHS.
Health secretary Andrew Lansley blamed the last Labour government for the rise in consultancy fees. He added that he had asked health trusts to cut management costs by 45% over the next four years.
Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said Labour had been “acting to bring consultancy spend down by one-third, but Mr Lansley’s reforms will give consultancy firms a field day. What he seems not to understand is that the NHS needs good managers. By wiping away the expertise currently in primary care trusts, he is opening the door to consultancy firms who know that hundreds of new, untested GP groups won’t have the experience to go it alone.”
Suzanne is a Partner and is head of the clinical negligence department.