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The great consultancy boom – from Covid to ICSs

Ministers and NHS management are becoming increasingly dependent on costly private sector management consultants to do the work that managers and civil servants were previously trained and expected to do as part of their jobs.

The pandemic – and NHS England’s insistence on driving through the simultaneous reorganisation into “Integrated Care Systems,” bringing fresh dependency on private companies specialising in apps, data and ‘population health management’ – has brought a massive further growth in the numbers of consultants involved.

Yet new research indicates that the NHS itself spent over £300m on consultancy in 2018/19, despite evidence that management consultants in health care “do more harm than good.” Indeed the evidence is that once consultants have been brought in they “keep getting rehired” – despite their failure to improve the efficiency or quality of services. 

Full story in The Lowdown, 24 February 2021

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