NHS chiefs have spent £17 million on consultants hired to draw up plans aimed at plugging the hole in the health service budget.
Firms including KPMG, McKinsey and PWC have been brought in to advise on plans that could lead to the closure or downgrading of NHS hospitals.
Management consultants advising on sustainability and transformation plans have been paid at least £17.6 million. The plans were requested by NHS England and should explain how areas will improve services and save money, in the face of an expected £900 million deficit this year and the need to save £22 billion by 2020.
Figures obtained by the Press Association under freedom of information laws show that £17,674,998 has been spent on consultancy fees, though the final bill is likely to be far higher. Eight out of the 44 areas did not respond to the information request, while others provided only partial data. Bosses reviewing services at five sites in south-west London spent £4,158,311 on management consultants. Some regions did not use management consultants.
A report from The King’s Fund, a think tank, last year said that some managers felt under pressure from NHS England to use consultants.