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Consultancy costs NHS £300m a year

24th August 2010

The health service spent over £300 million on the provision of outside consultancy services in 2009, according to new statistics.

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NHS trusts used the money to hire consultants to advise on different areas of the health service, including legal matters and the hiring of staff.

Primary care trusts and strategic health authorities paid out a total of £313.9 million on consultants over the last financial year.

The Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said the amount was "staggering".

Trusts in London were found to have spent almost triple the amount per person on consultants than the rest of England.

Camden PCT paid out over £12 million (£50 per person) on consultants while Bournemouth and Poole PCT spent only 20p per person.

Mr Lansley said that he had requested that PCTs and SHAs lessen management spending by 46% by 2014.

"This will root out unnecessary bureaucracy and any expensive duplication of functions," he explained.

Nigel Edwards, acting chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: "Any spending of taxpayers' money has to be justified, and the NHS has been asked by successive governments to perform tasks for which internal expertise was not present or needed to be developed. Dismissing all this spending as wasteful is unfounded."

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