DH blows £3m on staffing agency u-turn

CREDIT: This story was first seen on BMA news

The Department of Health ‘wasted’ nearly £3m on management consultants who were advising on a plan to sell off NHS Professionals, it has been revealed.

BMA news reports that the government performed a u-turn earlier this month and decided against the sale of the NHS’s in-house staffing agency – keeping it in public ownership.

And health minister Philip Dunne – questioned by Labour MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston Justin Madders – revealed that the ‘external advisers’ used on the process cost around £2.8m up to the decision being made on September 7.

Speaking in Parliament Mr Dunne said ‘none of the offers for NHS Professionals reflected the company’s growing potential’.

He added: ‘The department spent approximately £2.8m on external advisers’ costs during the sale process for NHS Professionals.

‘These costs will be recovered by taking a dividend payment from NHS Professionals, so this will not impact on delivering front-line NHS services.

‘Sufficient cash will be retained in the company, though, to ensure its operations and necessary investment can be properly funded.’

It comes after a series of revelations regarding money spent on management consultants by health service managers, including £2.3m in North Central London to help draw up a sustainability and transformation plan.

BMA council chair Chaand Nagpaul said the Government and NHS’s reliance on management consultants meant money was regularly haemorrhaging out of the health service where it was desperately needed.

Dr Nagpaul said: ‘It is utterly shameful to see politicians and health leaders have wasted yet more millions at a time when patient care is being compromised by frontline services being pushed to breaking point by a lack of resource and rocketing demand.

‘The Government must focus on supporting and resourcing health services which need immediate attention rather than squandering money on misguided short-term commercial policies, and take decisive action to support doctors who are stretched to the limit across the country.’

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