I was listening to the news on the radio the other day and they reported that the NHS spent about half a billion pounds on management consultants last year.
Half a billion pounds
That is a hell of a lot of money. If you had half a billion pound coins, they would weigh significantly more than the Empire State Building. If you stacked these coins one on top of the other, they would reach into outer space. Half a billion pounds is a hell of a lot of money.
Let me tell you a little story.
When I was at medical school, in our first year there was this guy called James “Gibbo” Gibson. Gibbo was a complete pisshead. I mean, Gibbo was the kind of student that gives students a bad reputation. He would go out a get hammered literally every night for three weeks straight and, on the few occasions he did manage to make it into uni for lectures, he would just fall asleep, hungover.
Unsurprisingly, Gibbo failed his first year med school exams. Our med school allowed him to re-sit the year, but Gibbo didn’t change his spots, failed again and was eventually kicked off the course. Gibbo switched courses and did a physiology degree and this is when I lost touch with him. I heard that he had to re-sit a year of his new degree but eventually graduated with a third. Fair enough.
Fast forward to the first day of my surgical house-officer job (in my first year as a qualified doctor) and I had walked onto my ward for the first time. I’m introducing myself to a couple of the nurses when I hear a voice behind me saying, “Mikey-mate! How are you!”
It’s Gibbo. Gibbo is dressed very smartly, wearing a nice suit. It turns out that Gibbo had been appointed as our ward manager. For being the ward manager, Gibbo was earning £52,000 a year and the honest truth is, to this day, I could not tell you what he actually did in his position. This was the one and only occasion that I saw him on the ward.
Like I say, half a billion pounds is a hell of a lot of money.