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PCTs ‘wind up’ consultancy spend

26 April 2012

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PCTs almost halved their consultancy spend last year from £261m to £138m as the new commissioning landscape begins to evolve.

Research by market intelligence firm Laing and Buisson’s NHS Financial Information 2012 showed consultancy spend across the NHS in England and Wales fell by a quarter from £605m in 2009/2010 to £452m in 2010/2011.

SHAs were found to have spent “considerably less” on external consultants, down from £53m to £35m last year.

Specific examples include Camden PCT, which spent £12.2m in 2009/2010 but only £2.1m in 2010/2011, and Tower Hamlets, which reported a similarly dramatic decline from £8.8m to £2.9m.

“The figures make sense as PCTs know they are disbanding and are increasingly divesting to CCGs,” said Philip Blackburn, Analyst at Laing and Buisson.

“There is certainly a ‘winding-up’ trend among PCTs where there is no new spend and a lapse in existing spend.”

Budget pressures for NHS services have also led to a “clear cut in temporary staffing usage” by NHS organisations in 2010/2011, according to the data.

Total spending on temporary staffing resources by the NHS in the UK (covering agency, locum, bank, secondments and short-term contracts) was estimated at £3.71bn in 2010/2011, shrinking by 7.4% from £4.01bn in 2009/2010.

PCTs were found to have reduced their overall use of temporary staff from 9.8% of staff costs to 7.9%.