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£21m bill for management consultants in Welsh NHS revealed

The NHS in Wales has racked up more than £21m in payments for management consultancy services during the last four years, Plaid Cymru has learnt.

The biggest rise spending on management consultants was at Hywel Dda University Health Board where in 2013-14 it tripled to £1,215,000 from £403,000.  While the biggest spenders at more than £5m was the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board.

The information was obtained from the seven Welsh health boards, NHS Wales and the Welsh Ambulance Trust following a request by the Party of Wales under the Freedom of Information Act.

Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Health Spokesperson, Elin Jones, said: “It is difficult to see how spending this level of money can be justified at a time when finance is very tight within the NHS in Wales.

“Patients will undoubtedly ask whether a sizeable portion of that spending could have been redirected to frontline services, which are under pressure. I would also question whether best value for money is being obtained if seven health boards and NHS Wales are buying-in management expertise.

“There is also significant variation across the health boards with Abertawe Bro Morgannwg spending £5.1m and Aneurin Bevan £596,000 on management consultancy work. It looks as if there is culture of spending money on consultants in some health boards and not in others.

“Patients in health boards with high spending on consultants would rather see this money spent on frontline medical staff to reduce waiting times.

“The health service in Wales should surely be developing its own expertise internally through proper professional development so that there is little need to go outside to private organisations for consultancy work.”

How much has the health board paid out to management consultants in every financial year from 2010-11?

Abertawe Bro Morgannwg

2010-11:  £1,340,000

2011-12:  £1,287,000

2012-13:  £1,639,000

2013-14: £847,000

TOTAL: £5,113,000

Aneurin Bevan

2010-11: £218,000

2011-12: £99,000

2012-13: £84,000

2013-14: £195,000

TOTAL: £596,000

Betsi Cadwaladr

2010-11: £710,000

2011-12: £532,000

2012-13: £397,000

2013-14: £752,000

TOTAL: £2,391,000 

Cardiff & Vale

2010-11: £736,000

2011-12:  £919,000

2012-13:  £1,504,000

2013-14: £1,533,000

TOTAL: £4,692,000 

Cwm Taf

2010-11:  £753,000

2011-12:  £522,000

2012-13: £524,000

2013-14: £218,000

TOTAL: £2,017,000 

Hywel Dda

2010-11: £318,000

2011-12: £240,000

2012-13: £403,000

2013-14: £1,215,000

TOTAL: £2,176,000 

Powys

2011-12-: £440,020

2012-13: £131,190

2013-14: £166,687

2014-15 (up to December 2014): £299,220

TOTAL: £1,037,117 

NHS Wales

2010-11:  £534,193

2011-12:  £1,344,244

2012-13: £662,584

2013-14: £160,801

TOTAL: £2,701,822 

Welsh Ambulance Trust

2010-11:  £98,000

2011-12: £92,000

2012-13: £99,000

2013-14: £14,000

TOTAL: £303,000

OVERALL TOTAL: 21,026,939