Private consultancy firms were given £720,000 to draw up vague cost-cutting plans for the NHS in Northamptonshire, an investigation has revealed.
Of that almost half-a-million pounds was handed to US firm McKinsey’s to “support the development” of the county’s five-year health plan, known as the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP).
The plan explains how the county will meet its five-year funding shortfall of £230 million - but critics say the plans drawn up by 44 regional bodies around the UK borders on the indecipherable.
In Northamptonshire lucrative contracts were also handed to financial services company Carnall Farrar, Holly Heath Consulting and accountancy firm MPL Limited.
Potts Consultancy Limited, which was set up specifically to give consulting advice to the NHS in 1996, also received a chunk of taxpayer money.
The spending has been heavily criticised by The British Medical Association, which represents GPs across the UK.
NHS Improvement has already admitted that it will pick and choose the parts of the plans it can actually put into action, which leads me to question whether all of this money handed out to private companies will simply be completely wasted.BMA council chair Mark Porter
BMA council chair Mark Porter said: “It is outrageous so much vital resource is being handed to consultancy firms for their part in delivering STPs which, ultimately, may never come to fruition.
“NHS Improvement has already admitted that it will pick and choose the parts of the plans it can actually put into action, which leads me to question whether all of this money handed out to private companies will simply be completely wasted.”
The figures on consultancy spending have come to light following Freedom of Information requests to all 44 STP areas by Johnston Press Investigations.
In total, contracts worth more than £18 million were handed to consultancy firms to draw up their regional plans.
McKinsey, a US management consultancy which advises companies and governments on out-sourcing, made £1.3 million from STP work, meaning Northamptonshire contributed to more than a third of the firm’s overall share.
Last November concerns were raised over the use of management consultants in a report on STPs by health charity the King’s Fund.
But a spokeswoman for Nene Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said that “external skills” were required in drawing up Northamptonshire’s five-year health plan, which is riddled with jargon such as “Cross-Cutting Patient Cohorts and Pathways,” confusing diagrams and references to a veiled set of appendices that are not publicly available.
The spokeswoman said: “The main driver behind the McKinsey’s work was to support the development of new models of care in out of hospital services around a GP Federation model which underpins the thrust of the system strategy and plans and is integral to the successful delivery of the STP.
“This needed external support due to the innovative nature of the models of care and the timescales in which strategies needed to be developed. A full set of reports and resources implications in the form of a set of reports by GP Federation and a resource model was delivered.
“In addition, Mckinsey’s provided some support on project and document management and analysis of acute hospital costs. This work has underpinned further work undertaken since Mckinsey’s have completed their project.
“A tendering process was followed involving a shortlist of three providers. McKinsey’s provided the best value of money in terms of deliverable outcome’s and costs.”
In Northamptonshire: Carnall Farrar were given £30,000 for “financial advice.”
Holly Health Consulting were given £31,000 for “estate advice.”
MPL Limited was given £131,000 for “programme management.”
Mckinseys were given £500,000 to “support development of STP care models.”
Potts Consultancy Limited was given £28,000 for “activity modelling.”
NHS England said STPs were required to keep costs low.