Ditch management consultants from the NHS

Management consultants should be ditched as the NHS is entering a ‘dark and dangerous’ period, leading doctor warns conference.

Public money must not be diverted away from patient care ‘into the pockets of shareholders’ at a time when the NHS may see real cuts in budgets, Dr Jonathan Fielden, chairman of the consultants committee of the British Medical Association said in a speech.

He said the £350m reportedly spend on independent management consultants in the NHS in England last year should be spend on patient care instead.
* NHS consultancy bill is £350m
* NHS could have hired 10,000 nurses with money spent on management consultants

This is even more important as in the coming years investment in the NHS is likely to fall, he said.

Dr Fielden said: “For the first time in working memory, we may see real cuts in health spending. This will provoke some stark choices: what is kept, what is cut, what can the NHS afford? Let’s ensure that it’s doctors making those difficult decisions in partnership with our patients and health care colleagues, not faceless bureaucrats, accountants, and those out to fleece the taxpayer.”

He said that an estimated £927m was also spent on contracts with independent sector treatment centres for work that was not carried out as patients shunned the private centres.

This was a ‘dangerous waste’, Dr Fielden said, and he urged the Treasury not to snatch back the £1.7bn surplus currently in the NHS and for it to be spent on patients instead.

Dr Fielden said overall the NHS has been improving but there have been ‘dreadful blots’ on the landscape where care has been poor.

He told the BMA’s Consultants Conference: “In each of these there is a common theme: targets being put in front of quality, staff not being listened to, aberrant corporate cultures suppressing concerns and disregarding safety. Doctors must challenge this culture of denial and lead a better way forward.”


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