The British Medical Association (BMA) has reported that private consultancy firms have been paid at least £26 million by the NHS as part of plans to reorganise the health service.

The reforms have, however, also created more than 550 new non-clinical jobs across the country.

The report also found revealed that an expensive new team of senior staff is being formed, with 316 of the jobs attracting estimated annual salaries of up to £142,500, with true costs potentially even higher.

The data is based on a series of Freedom of Information requests sent to Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) and Integrated Care Systems (ICS), which have been created as a means of delivering more localised integrated care across the entire health system. The plans have already drawn criticism from leading healthcare bodies, given their role in the reorganisation of the NHS.

The report comes after the BMA has been calling for greater investment to address the current medical workforce crisis with not enough staff to deliver front-line care.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said of the spending: “Given the perilous state of NHS finances and patients suffering delays for essential services it is utterly unacceptable to see so much money flowing away from patient care to private consultancy firms.

“For many frontline staff, so used to seeing a lack of investment in workforce, equipment and buildings in their workplaces, this level of spending on private consultancy firms will be extremely difficult to comprehend.”