Mirror 14 October 2017 Dan Bloom
Dr Chris Day, 32, says his career was “destroyed” after he raised fears over a short-staffed intensive care unit. Now the huge cost to the taxpayer has been revealed
The Tories have secretly blown £3million worth of taxpayers’ cash on consultants in a failed bid to privatise the NHS staffing agency.
Ministers desperately tried to sell off the respected NHS Professionals organisation which supplies doctors and nurses to hospitals.
But they were forced to perform a major U-turn following widespread anger and criticism from MPs, medical chiefs and health unions.
Now we can reveal that the Government spent £2.8million on “external advisers” to work on the planned sale before it was abandoned.
Britain’s most senior doctor branded the “wasted” money “utterly shameful”.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medical Association, warned the Government’s use of management consultants meant money was haemorrhaging out of the health service where it was desperately needed.
He said: “It is utterly shameful to see politicians and health leaders have wasted yet more millions at a time when patient care is being compromised by frontline services being pushed to breaking point by a lack of resource and rocketing demand.
“The Government must focus on supporting and resourcing health services which need immediate attention rather than squandering money on misguided short-term commercial policies, and take decisive action to support doctors who are stretched to the limit across the country.”
The identities of the consultancy firms hired by the Tories have not been revealed.
Dr Eric Watts, a consultant haematologist and spokesman for campaign group Doctors for the NHS, added: “This shows the complete folly of trying to impose the ideals of a marketplace where absolutely no market belongs: the NHS.
“It does not need privatising and it certainly does not need public money throwing away to fail to prove it might. It needs funding properly. Not giving away.”
In a written statement to parliament, Health Minister Philip Dunne confirmed: “The Department spent approximately £2.8million on external advisers’ costs during the sale process for NHS Professionals until the decision was announced on 7 September that NHS Professionals will remain wholly in public ownership.
“The Government concluded that none of the offers received for NHS Professionals reflected the company’s growing potential and improved performance.”
The Department of Health said it abandoned the sale of the agency which supplies 90,000 doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers, after failing to receive any adequate bids.
The proposal had been strongly criticised because the use of NHS Professionals saves the NHS £70million a year by supplying staff more cheaply than private sector agencies.
Mr Dunne admitted the £2.8million bill will be paid for by taking a divided payment from NHS Professionals, but insisted “this will not impact on delivering frontline NHS services”.
However, Justin Madders MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, said: “The Tories have starved our NHS of funds, while wasting millions of pounds on trying to force through the privatisation of services in the face of common sense.