The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) spent £1.2bn on administrative and clerical staff in 2008, an 80% increase on figures four years ago, according to statistics released by the Conservative political party.

The study found that NHS primary care trusts spent £115m on agency administration staff in 2008, almost double the amount spent between 2003 and 2004.

Primary care trusts also spent £139m on management consultants compared to £53m in 2003–04, UK newspaper The Telegraph reported.

Health Minister Ann Keen said that administrative and clerical staff form only 8% of the NHS workforce of over 1.3 million.

“No one wants to see doctors and nurses waste valuable time and training, tied up with administration instead of delivering patient care,” Keen said.