The daily rates of a management consultants employed by NHS organisations could soon be published.
The health select committee called for the step in a one-off report published last week.
MPs said they felt moved to issue the report after the 2007-08 NHS accounts revealed that primary care trusts, acute trusts and strategic health authorities were spending in the region of £300m a year. That sum excluded spending by foundation trusts.
Giving evidence on NHS spending late last year Department of Health officials told the committee the day rate for senior consultants was “usually in excess of £1,000” and for junior consultants around £400-£500.
But when MPs asked NHS chief executive David Nicholson if he would collect a fuller breakdown of spending he implied it would be complicated as “external consultancy” could mean anything from a very small spend to a major programme.
He added: “We desperately try not to micromanage what the NHS does. We do not think that is the right thing to do.”
But the MPs disagreed, saying in their report: “The information must be collected locally and it would be a simple matter to bring this together centrally. We do not accept Mr Nicholson’s argument [this] would inevitably lead to more micromanaging.”
The MPs have formally recommended the DH collects a list of all management consultants used by the DH, SHAs, PCTs and trusts, detailing the work, its duration, cost and purpose. The committee warns it will ask the DH for the information each year and publish it, with the top 10 daily rates paid to consultants by each organisation type.
The MPs have asked the foundation trust regulator Monitor to provide similar information.