Candy Udwin, from Camden Keep NHS Public
Published: 2 February, 2017
By TOM FOOT
A CONTROVERSIAL shake-up in the way north London’s health services are run has already led to a cash bonanza for private companies.
While campaigners and some local politicians are still warning that the overhaul – known as the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) – is cover for deep NHS cuts, the process has already begun, with consultants brought into advise on the changes.
Around £2.3million has been paid out by North Central London NHS trust in return for help in drawing up a 68-page plan, which looks at how spending across five boroughs, including Camden and Islington, could be reduced by £1billion by 2022.
It has been criticised for being an obscure document which does not make clear where savings are going to be made.
Details of the payments to consultants show how one firm received more than £600,000 to set up and manage the STP office before a permanent team was hired and space offered up at Camden Council’s headquarters at 5 Pancras Square in King’s Cross.
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.”
Candy Udwin, from Camden Keep Our NHS Public, added: “It is truly shocking that at a time of such crisis in the NHS, more than £2million has been given out to private consultancy firms, with a large amount of this going on STP plans which are meant to be finding ways to meet their deficit.”
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 Carnall and 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 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 advisers Deloitte netted £257,336 for “support for STP finance and activity modelling” while Methods Advisory was paid £617,850 for “programme management office (PMO) and strategy support”.
The New Journal 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 New Journal has contacted all of 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.”
Campaigners from Camden are set to join a national Save the NHS demonstration in central London on March 4.