To improve efficiency, halt the use of consultancies

Full Story in HSJ 20 March 2018

Management consultants are more likely to generate inefficiency, hence spending less on management consultants could improve outcomes in the healthcare system, say Andrew Sturdy, Ian Kirkpatrick and Gianluca Verones

Is it in the public interest for our NHS to continue using management consultants without knowing if they add value? A few weeks ago, we published a study of management consultancy use in 120 English hospital trusts in the journal Policy & Politics. This sparked national debate, inside and outside of the NHS.

The study found that spending on external management consultants was, in the majority of cases, associated with increased inefficiency. Although the lost efficiency was small in financial terms, it came on top of the £1.2m fees spent on average annually by each trust. The implication is that management consultants not only fail to generate improvements, but in fact make the situation worse.