Intended for healthcare professionals


Exclusive: Government spending on management consultants trebles in three years

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 05 September 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5404
  1. David Oliver
  1. Reading

The government’s spending on management consultants in the NHS has trebled during 2016-19 despite pledges by successive health secretaries to curb spending on external advisers.

The Department of Health and Social Care and its arm’s length bodies spent £22.65m on management consultants in 2018-19, up from £14.10m in 2017-18 and £6.53m in 2016-17, showed figures obtained under freedom of information. Non-departmental public bodies in these figures included the Care Quality Commission and NHS Improvement but not NHS England.

The increase occurred despite a target set by the former health secretary Jeremy Hunt in 2014 to save £10bn from the health budget by 2020 by cutting spending on management consultants, temporary agency staff, prescribing errors, and preventable harm, among other things.1

The findings on these central bodies are out of kilter with trends in the rest of the NHS. …

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