Figures obtained by Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero show that the trust that owns King’s Mill Hospital has shelled out nearly £5m on external management consultants in the last three years.
Ms De Piero said that she was ‘absolutely flabbergasted’ when she found out how much public money had been spent on the management experts at a time when Sherwood Forest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust was having serious financial problems.
The Freedom of Information request showed that the trust paid out £4,836,875.19 to external management consultants between 2010 and 2013.
Further analysis of the figures shows it spent exactly £2,257,731.32 on external management consultants in 2010/11 and then eclipsed that amount the following year, forking out £2,275,972.35.
However this dropped to £303,171.52 in 2012/13.
Ms De Piero said: “Almost £5m seems like an awful lot of money to be spending on these so-called consultants and have we really seen value for money in that time?
“I know folk in Ashfield will be wondering why some of that cash couldn’t have been spent on recruiting more nurses, especially when concerns have been raised about staffing levels at the hospital in the past.
“To put it into context, that amount of money could pay the salaries of roughly 200 nurses for a year.”
Paul O’Connor, the chief executive of the trust, said that it is not unusual for hospitals to employ management consultants and the trust is indeed still employing such experts.
“In common with all NHS organisations we face significant changes and challenges that, at times, require us to buy in external expertise,” he said.
“We recognise that any amount of taxpayers’ money spent has to be justified, ensuring we make best use of the finance available to us.”
The management consultants employed by the trust have advised on topics such as how it can use its facilities more efficiently.
Mr O’Connor added: “The organisation was facing significant financial challenges at that time and used external organisations to help it develop service improvements and transformation, as well helping to develop the turnaround strategy.
“The benefit of using external organisations is that they can provide highly-specialised skills and expertise, and transfer some of that knowledge and skills to the trust.”