Debt squads hit NHS14th November 2006
One in four NHS trusts have made way for debt hit squads aimed at cutting their spending.
The financial management consultants were called into the 18 worst hit trusts at the beginning of the year. But 143 trusts are using consultants to sift through their spending and come up with cash-saving measures.
Campaigners say the financial consultants are a waste of money. But the government has said the teams were doing an important job, with figures showing they are helping to save around four per cent.
Trusts are predicting debts of more than £1bn this year.
There are no figures available on how much the consultants are costing the NHS as trusts or strategic health authorities fund them individually. Some trusts are using internal NHS teams.
Figures obtained by the Conservative Party show the NHS in England is set to spend £172m this year on external management consultants - a rise of 83 per cent in two years.
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