Ex-chief executive of NHS London Dame Ruth Carnall and, right, Shirley Franklin, of Defend Whittington Hospital Coalition
Published: 3 February, 2017
by TOM FOOT
A SECRETIVE plan to slash health and social care spending has led to a NHS cash bonanza for a string of private firms.
More than £2.3million has been paid out to 12 consultancy companies by North Central London’s NHS for help with its Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP).
Details of the payments to firms show how one received more than £600,000 to set up and manage the STP last year.
Mark Porter, chairman of the British Medical Association, which unearthed the figures, said: “Doctors will find it galling to see that so much vital resource has been handed to consultancy firms for their part in failing plans which, ultimately, may never come to fruition, while frontline staff struggle to provide safe patient care in a service increasingly becoming unfit for purpose.”
The STP is a 68-page plan detailing how spending across five boroughs, including Islington, can be reduced by around £1billion by 2022. While campaigners and some local politicians are still warning that the overhaul is cover for deep NHS cuts, the process has already begun, with consultants brought into advise on the changes.
Shirley Franklin, chairwoman of Defend Whittington Hospital Coalition, said: “It’s disgusting that our taxes, which we pay for our health, should go into the pockets of private companies. They should go into hospitals not into private businesses.”
Most of the companies earning payouts for help with STP have been set up by former public servants, including the former chief executive of NHS London, Dame Ruth Carnall.
Carnall Farrar – which received £115,882 for a STP “review of commissioning arrangements” – was founded by Dame Ruth along with Hannah Farrar, a former director of NHS London, and Ben Richardson, who was a senior partner at McKinsey & Co, after NHS London was disbanded in 2014.
McKinsey & Co, the UK arm of the American management consultancy giant, is one of the big earners from the north London STP – being paid £360,000 from Camden Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for help on “strategy assessment to investigate further options for the transformation of mental health services” and also “financial modelling of mental health programme initiatives”.
Financial advisors Deloitte netted £257,336 for “support for STP finance and activity modelling” while Methods Advisory was paid £617,850 for a “programme management office (PMO) and strategy support”. The Tribune contacted Methods Advisory for comment on details of the PMO but did not receive a reply.
Hunter Healthcare, which on its website states its values include integrity, tenacity and passion, also received £282,518 for interim administrative support for the PMO. GE Healthcare Finnamore, owned by the US multinational corporation General Electric, was paid £9,900 for more “support with STP finance and activity modelling”.
Health Finance and Economics – a company set up in September 2015 – is so small it is exempted from providing full accounts at Companies House.
It has no website or office, and is run by Jonathan Wise, a former chief finance officer at Brent, Harrow and Hillingdon CCG. It was paid £107,710 for “support for STP finance and activity modelling”.
The Tribune has contacted all the companies on the list, with only Deloitte and McKinsey responding with short statements saying they could not comment on “client work” and recommending contact with the NHS.
None of the companies involved took up an opportunity to explain how the work of consultancy firms can help the NHS generally.
A spokeswoman for the STP said the large sums listed were partly caused by the new organisation being set up from a “zero base” and that consultants were hired only on an “interim basis” to assist in developing the plan.
“This work was completed by consultants and now a North Central London STP programme management team is in place,” she added. “There would now be a “significantly reduced reliance on consultants”.
She added: “Contracts were put in place following a competitive tender using a national consultancy framework.”