Sunday, 27 September 2009

Consultants must come first

There may be shortages of certain non-essential resources in the NHS, things like nurses, drugs or clean bedding, but there’s one indispensable item that doesn’t appear to be in short supply: consultants – management consultants.

The Department of Health currently pisses away between £350 - £600 million each year on employing management consultants. The majority of their ‘work’ has little to do with patient care. Incidentally, I wonder how long it will be before they rebrand themselves as ‘The Department of Wellbeing’. It must be time for a new logo and some salary increases, surely?

The NHS recently drafted in consultants McKinsey to identify where savings could be made. Somehow those suggested savings didn’t include management consultants or unnecessary bureaucracy. According to Private Eye, the bloated new bureaucracy of Primary Health Trusts has ballooned faster than Jordan’s breasts, and the admin bill alone runs at £1.2 billion per annum.

The Department of Health suggests this cost is due to the trusts ‘attempting to drive forward system change’. No, I don’t understand what that bollocks means either. However, what I do understand is that commercial directors employed by these new trusts can enjoy salaries starting at around £100,000 a year.

With that sort of money being flushed down the pan it’s no wonder there’s nothing left in the budget for decent food.


  1. well as they are fond of saying Image is everything.

  2. I used to be on the board of my local Primary Care Trust. After one term they decided that I didn't have enough senior management experience and therefore they drafted in ex-managers from HBOS to replace me.

  3. I have just this weekend returned from a just shy of a week hospital stay, they think i had gastrointeritis ( or however that is spelled). The photos and descriptions of your food look like heaven from where I was sitting. My daily offerings were toast or rice krispies, the lunch option on the first day were minced lamb, roast lamb or soup and sandwiches. I opted for the the sandwiches, they were rock hard and the soup a cuppa soup, literally, but i thought oh well this is ok. For tea I was offered jacket potato with beans and mash, potato and potato???? I should have excepted as these were the only veg I would see. The following day beef burger or fish and chips, which came not even with peas!!! When the dr asked what i'd managed to eat, and i replied five chips, she told me they were bad for me, and seemed shocked when i told her that was what i was given. and for tea that evening, cornedbeef pastie with chips or cheese pastie with chips. I did get to see a tomato with this offering, though it looked more like intestines. I dishcarged myself shortly after this.

  4. Far be it from me to depress you - but the fees on management consultants pale into insignificance compared to the amount of compensation they have had to pay out in negligence claims - 2.6 billion outstanding at the moment....

    Let me ponder on this one - perahps you could sue them for negligently feeding you. Hmmn.

  5. I really don't like the idea of suing the NHS as it only serves to take money away from other sick people who need treatment. It's not something I think I could do even though I probably have a strong case for the origins of this illness and possible misdiagnosis. Sometimes bad things happen. I really don't like the compensation culture the lawyers have encouraged in this country. But then again... if incompetence isn't punished I guess it will continue.

  6. Traction man, I'm sure you are going in the right direction in your thinking.

    No sum of money invested in consultancy work will help. What is needed urgently are clinics where people can get an appointment the same day and at an affordable price of around £10, for a GP or a specialist doctor.

    Instead of paying a consultant, a visit to France's health care system and an ongoing, ambitious citizens' internet think tank would be much more effective. Most improvements are obvious: hospital food being an important area together with
    - enforced general hygiene rules and
    - improved, more modern hospital buildings in green surroundings that make you well.

    (although some consultants I know are very nice, none of them can manage anything people-related. Or cook, or care for the ill. Just count and make business strategies. That's all very well, but that's all, and it is not helping the NHS.)