Local health leaders have spent at least £11m on private management consultants who are helping to draw up – and drive forward – plans to transform NHS services and deliver budget cuts.
New Freedom of Information responses from 19 of the 44 STP (sustainability and transformation partnership) areas show health managers spending vast sums on firms who are helping with projects such as ‘public engagement communications’, ‘strategy analytics and modelling’ and ‘strategic workforce planning’.
In one area, Kent and Medway, £3.2m was handed to four firms, including £2.97m to Carnall Farrar for strategy, analytics, modelling and programme management.
Dover GP John Allingham said the figures were ‘eye-watering’ – particularly in a region ‘with high deprivation and significant unmet needs’.
He added: ‘It is difficult to justify how we can find cash for cake when so many people have no bread.’
It comes after BMA News revealed areas across the country face rationing and budget cuts – and frontline services for patients could be seriously affected.
The figures, revealed by Pulse after a series of Freedom of Information requests, echo BMA News analysis earlier this year which exclusively revealed the role of management consultants in the STP process – particularly in North Central London.
BMA News also exclusively revealed management consultants taking £28m from NHS coffers to help ailing trusts and clinical commissioning groups improve their finances amid massive cuts to budgets.
BMA council chair Chaand Nagpaul 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 News investigation found that at least 150 jobs, including communications executives and financial analysts with combined salaries of at least £8.5m annually, have been created to deliver the STP programme.
Dr Nagpaul added: ‘What the NHS needs is more junior doctors, consultants, GPs and other healthcare staff, as well as properly resourced services that provide 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.’
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