The media reported en masse government figures revealing the NHS spent more than £300m on management consultants last year, though not all pointed out that it represented less than half of 1 per cent of the service’s budget.
The Independent on Sunday reported that public sector workers had identified management consultancy as one area where government money could be saved.
The paper said “completely removing all management consultants” was one of around 100,000 proposals sent to the Treasury as part of its Spending Challenge online consultation.
According to the paper, the deficit cutting suggestions have been filtered and shortlisted down to 44,000 that may be taken forward by the Treasury.
But despite the vetting, it is possible some of the suggestions are not entirely serious.
“Sell Cornwall”, is one idea, according to the paper.
Charging £250 for ambulance calls to drunk people and a moratorium on all renaming and rebranding of public sector organisations were among the others that made it through the first layer of quality control, according to the Sunday paper.
Another suggestion quoted by the paper was “only plant perennials. No more pansies in flowerbeds”.
There is no record of whether or not this advice was taken up by 90 Royal Bank of Scotland staff who were presented with memento T-shirts after spending a day gardening at a Scottish hospital.
The Sun ran the story under the headline “RBS staff paid to weed NHS garden”, claiming the volunteers had also been given the day off with full pay by the partially public owned bank.
The Sun was also annoyed at their mode of travel.
According to the paper, “amazed NHS staff” watched as the employees from RBS’s Edinburgh headquarters “rolled into the grounds of the Royal Edinburgh psychiatric hospital in a fleet of black cabs at £8 a pop”.
The paper admitted “some employees also caught the bus or walked”, but “a source” asked: “Couldn’t they do it on their day off like proper volunteers?”