THE NHS in Scotland has spent almost £14 million (or perhaps even more) since 2014 on hiring external consultants to advise on cutting hospital operation waiting times. That went well, with the number of those waiting more than three months increasing five-fold during the three-year period of the consultants’ deliberations.

It has been customary for organisations to bring in external consultants to advise them on their structures and procedures. Universities did this in a big way a few years ago. It seems to be seen as a virility indicator, showing that managers are important enough to be able to spend huge sums on getting this kind of advice. In fact, all it does it show that managers who call in external consultants are not themselves capable of doing the jobs for which they are usually very handsomely paid.

Jill Stephenson,

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Glenlockhart Valley, Edinburgh.