Healthcare: On the Agenda - NHS proposals cause uproar

In a nutshell.

The Government has been advised by management consultants to cut the NHS workforce in England by ten per cent over the next five years. Department of Health (DH) officials invited consultants to come up with proposals for how savings could be made. The plans to close clinical and admin posts were proposed by McKinsey and Company earlier this year and leaked out last week.

What did the report propose?

McKinsey recommended staff cuts, a recruitment freeze and a reduction in medical school places.

What was the Government's response?

The DH moved quickly to distance itself from the proposals, once they were made public. Health minister Mike O'Brien said: 'Ministers have rejected the suggested proposals in the McKinsey report and there are no plans to adopt these proposals in the future.' He added that the NHS needed more staff rather than fewer.

PR support

The Health Service Journal was leaked a copy of the report and ran the story in the weekly magazine and on its website. The magazine also distributed a press release to the national print and broadcast media. The DH handled a flurry of media calls on the subject, while McKinsey declined to comment on the story.

Media coverage

BBC Radio 4's flagship Today programme led with the story, while most of the nationals gave heavy coverage to the news. The Daily Mail went with the headline: 'NHS must sack one in ten staff.'

137k - Number of job cuts proposed

£20bn - Amount cuts would save by 2014.

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