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Some STPs have spent millions of pounds on external consultants to draw up plans

Health and social care bosses across England have spent £21m on management consultants to help draw up plans to overhaul regional NHS services.

An investigation, based on Freedom of Information request to all 44 ‘Sustainability and Transformation Partnership’ (STP) regions, found that some areas have spent millions of pounds on external consultants to help them draw up the plans, which in many cases involve cutting frontline services.

The BMA said these sums were difficult to justify given the current squeeze on funding.

The plans were first announced in December 2015, with the aim of making £22bn worth of cuts to the health services by 2020/21.

The investigation, by Pulse Magazine, reveals managers have been spending NHS money on private consultancy firms, which are being used for ‘public engagement communications’, ‘strategy analytics and modelling’ and ‘strategic workforce planning’ among other services.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA Chair of Council, said: “With the NHS facing an unprecedented crisis it is unacceptable that millions of pounds are being spent on consultancy fees for so-called ‘transformation plans’ that are ultimately designed as a cover to deliver £26bn in cuts to health and social care. This is an obvious and ludicrous waste of taxpayers’ money given the brief given to these consultants is to come up with new ways of taking yet more money away from frontline patient care.

“A recent BMA investigation found that more than 150 jobs, including communications executives and financial analysts with combined annual salaries of at least £8.5 million, have been created to deliver STPs. This is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg as not all STPs have revealed their expenditure.

“What the NHS needs is more junior doctors, consultants, GPs and other healthcare staff, as well as properly resourced services that provides more GP and hospital appointments and a broad range of services in the community. Patients deserve a properly funded health service where every available penny is spent on frontline services.”

One STP – Kent and Medway – paid £3.2m to four firms, including £2.97m to Carnall Farrar for strategy, analytics, modelling and programme management, the investigation found.

Overall, the 19 STPs that responded said they had spent £9.17m since March 2016, when they started working on the plans. Extrapolated across the 44 STP areas in England, this comes to £21.2m.

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One Response to “Some STPs have spent millions of pounds on external consultants to draw up plans”

  1. Anna says:

    This seems like a total waste of money; surely the management consulting can be done centrally rather than repeated in every different region: we have a National Health Service after all and some degree of central planning is surely necessary. There should be open public debate and consultation regarding any plans to transform healthcare. My concern is that new business models of healthcare rely on using remote assessment to cut costs on premises and support staff. We could end up with an out of hours style service running throughout the year in primary care. This is surely not desirable – patients want local, accessible face-to- face services. There must be clearer debate about why these cuts need to be made and what other options there could be to save money without cutting front line staff. Why not start with caps on executive pay, agency pay and management consulting fees.

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