And so the saga of gross inefficiency of NHS management consultants was exposed.
Reports “The NHS has become addicted to management consultants although hospitals that use them become less efficient, researchers have discovered. The more that a health trust employs outside experts, the more it will turn to them in the future, analysis shows. Hiring them is also followed by a rise in contracting out to the private sector. £263million a year!
Downing Street is under pressure to justify recruiting an army of private sector experts to deliver the ailing NHS Test and Trace programme.
Sir Keir Starmer challenged the prime minister this week, complaining of “the way the government sprays money at companies that do not deliver”. The opposition leader cited the £7,000-a-day rate that some executives from Boston Consulting Group were being paid to help set up and run the testing system. More than 1,100 consultants from Deloitte have been working on the programme with day rates as high as £2,360.
It’s a long story, suffice to say that “During the pandemic Downing Street has turned to management consultants to set up the £12 billion test-and-trace scheme, which relies heavily on outsourcing. For mass testing, the government created mega-laboratories bypassing the hospital and public health structure. For tracing, ministers turned to private providers rather than relying on established local authority services”.
Case study “When an eminent surgeon at a teaching hospital met the management consultants brought in to solve delays in getting patients to theatre, he asked about their experience in the health service (Dominic Kennedy writes). “I said, ‘Do you do a lot of hospital management consultancy work?’ They said, ‘No, this is our first time. Our last one was a food processing factory, peas along a production line.’ ”
The surgeon told The Times “Surgeons and the theatre nursing staff had put forward good solutions but management think we have a vested interest. Because of this atmosphere in the health service that they don’t quite trust us, they bring in independent groups.”
A team of management consultants, who were “very young people just out of university”, spent two weeks at the hospital which paid them a six-figure sum. Their report recommended employing a specialist nurse to go through the theatre kit. He lasted less than two months in the role. “The disorganisation caused by the intervention caused more problems after he left” the surgeon said. “Their recommendations failed. They got their money. They left us with another problem”.
Spraying money is easy, getting value for it seems impossible.