NHS spend on management consultants is ‘value for money’
By Helen Mooney
15 September 2009
The Management Consultancies Association has said that the £300m spent by the NHS on work by its members last year is ‘demonstrably value for money’.
The MCA published its report, Improving care, reducing cost, today. It found that the NHS spent just 0.3% of its budget on management consultancy in 2008. The report also says that the majority of the consultancy projects in the health service have saved more than they cost.
The report says that: total NHS spending on management consultants in 2008 was £300m – with current total NHS spend more than £100bn; the amount spent on consultancy by the NHS per employee is roughly one tenth of that spent by large private sector organisations; and most spending on consultancy is associated with significant programmes that lead to improved patient care and greater efficiency.
MCA chief executive Alan Leaman said: ‘Management consultancy has recently been caught in the crossfire of the arguments between supporters of reform in the NHS and their opponents.
‘Those who attack the use of management consultants by the NHS are undermining efforts to increase efficiency and improve patient care. The public rightly demands high-quality services and value for money. Those who attack the role of management consultants would deny them both.’
The report also sets out suggestions to improve the NHS’s use of management consultants, including establishing a clearer distinction between consultancy and the use of interim staff, a greater focus on the outcomes of consulting projects and more performance-related contracts.
In June, the Commons health select committee investigated the use of managements consultants in the NHS and the Department of Health. It recommended that the government establish a central list of all the consultancies used by the NHS and the projects that they have worked on.