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At the heart of general practice since 1960

NHS management consultant spending 'a scandal'

By Ian Quinn

NHS spending on external consultants is a ‘scandal', RCGP chair Professor Steve Field said in his keynote address to the college's conference last week.

He told the audience of nearly 1,000 GPs the money should be reinvested in services.

‘A strong primary care saves money. It's a scandal, the millions spent on management costs by the Department of Health. What we could do with that money,' he said.

Pulse revealed in May that PCT spending on external consultants had more than tripled in the past two years, from an average of £361,000 in 2006/7 to £1.217m in 2008/9.

The RCGP chair's attack came after the DH's head of primary care told MPs it was not the DH's job to monitor how much trusts spent on consultants.

Gary Belfield was speaking just a week after health minister Mike O'Brien promised the Government would start collecting national data on overall consultancy spend, amid concerns over spiralling levels of payment to private firms.

He told the Commons health committee's inquiry into commissioning: ‘Whenever we do try to collect data PCTs complain it is bureaucratic. I am not sure it is always the answer for the DH to collect data.'

RCGP chair Professor Steve Field RCGP chair Professor Steve Field

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