Hos­pi­tal bosses’ mas­sive spend­ing on con­sul­tants

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Nhs Finances - By Geoffrey Bew

Health chiefs have paid a stag­ger­ing £458,500 to con­sul­tants to help draw up plans for far­reach­ing re­forms to the way care should be pro­vided in Kent.

The draft re­port set­ting out a blue­print for the next five years has been the sub­ject of with­er­ing crit­i­cism from county coun­cil­lors, who have com­plained much of it was mean­ing­less and lacked de­tail.

The four Kent hos­pi­tal trusts – in­clud­ing the East Kent one that runs the Wil­liam Har­vey Hos­pi­tal – along with other or­gan­i­sa­tions that are in­volved in draft­ing the Sus­tain­abil­ity Trans­for­ma­tion Plan (STP) com­mis­sioned three firms to help and ad­vise them.

The trusts said it was nec­es­sary to take on ex­ter­nal ad­vis­ers as they “pro­vided ca­pac­ity, skills, ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­per­tise that wasn’t avail­able to be freed up within ex­ist­ing STP mem­ber or­gan­i­sa­tions.”

STPs are long-term plans that will set out how health ser­vices in 44 ar­eas of the coun­try should be or­gan­ised and man­aged to im­prove care for res­i­dents within cer­tain ar­eas and across all types of spend­ing within the NHS.

In par­tic­u­lar, the plans are de­signed to set out how best to in­te­grate health ser­vices with so­cial care pro­vided by coun­cils and ad­dress the is­sue of how to deal with de­clin­ing bud­gets.

In Kent’s case, that means deal­ing with a £486 mil­lion over­spend if noth­ing is done by 2020.

Con­sul­tancy firm Car­nall Far­rar was paid £300,000 “for ca­pac­ity and ex­per­tise in fi­nan­cial and ac­tiv­ity mod­el­ling, strat­egy de­vel­op­ment and pro­gramme man­age­ment.”

How­ever, the firm has been paid close to £2.5 mil­lion since last Oc­to­ber for its work on the STP. A sec­ond con­sul­tancy, MGWR, was paid £43,000 for “in­terim day-to-day pro­gramme man­age­ment sup­port”.

The third firm en­gaged was GE Health­care Fin­namore, which was paid £115,500 “for ca­pac­ity and ex­per­tise in fi­nan­cial and ac­tiv­ity mod­el­ling” – the same rea­son Car­nall Far­rar Lim­ited was com­mis­sioned.

The fig­ures were re­leased to the KM Group un­der the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act.

The trusts have since con­tin­ued to rely on two of the com­pa­nies to pro­vide ad­di­tional ad­vice and com­mis­sioned a fourth – Hood and Woolf – to work for them to pro­vide public re­la­tions and help staff with man­age­ment. That has cost £74,000. They have also spent a fur­ther £66,000 on “pro­gramme man­age­ment sup­port” pro­vided by MGWR.

The con­cept of STPs has proved con­tro­ver­sial and led to fears it might lead to re­duc­tions in ser­vices in some ar­eas.

Al­most half a mil­lion pounds has been paid to con­sul­tants for plans on the fu­ture of care in Kent

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