NHS Trusts spent £300 Million Plus On Consultancy Services In 2009

The acting Chief Executive of the National Health Service Confederation, Nigel Edwards, said that \”Any spending of taxpayers\’ money has to be justified, and the NHS has been asked by successive governments to perform tasks for which internal expertise was not present or needed to be developed. Dismissing all this spending as wasteful is unfounded. External advice will be necessary if NHS organisations are to deliver change and, with the financial challenges and size of the current reform programme, it is probable NHS organisations, especially new GP consortia, will require external help to deliver what the government wants. External Consultants bring ranges of skills and knowledge that you don\’t necessarily have in-house or you don\’t want to employ full-time because you don\’t need it all the time. To dismiss this all as waste is probably a major exaggeration. To some extent, the buying in that\’s happened over the last couple of years was directly in response to initiatives launched by the government which caused a peak in demand for management”.

However the Chief Executive of the Royal College of Nursing, Dr Peter Carter, said that “At a time when nurses and other staff are seeing front line services cut and being asked to accept a pay freeze, these organisations need to clearly demonstrate they are getting good value for money from the taxpayer\’s health pounds.\”

It is expected that in the future the National Health Service will have to spend considerable sums on external consultants if it is to achieve the bottom up reorganisation proposed by the Conservative / Liberal Democrat Coalition Government. The removal of Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities along with passing the responsibility for commissioning to GPs and more power to patients is expected to drive the need for external consultancy in the coming years as the NHS simply does not have the ability to bring in these change projects on its own.

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