Gravy train for management consultants involved in NHS...

‘Gravy train’ for management consultants involved in NHS shake-up plans condemned by Unite

21 March 2017

Excessive spending on management consultants advising on the  controversial Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) to reconfigure the NHS was branded as ‘a gravy train that is completely out of control’ by Unite, the country’s largest union, today (Tuesday 21 March).

Unite was commenting on Press Association revelations that health bosses had spent at least £17.6 million on advice to formulate the STPs by top management consultancy firms, such as KPMG, McKinsey and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). There are 44 STPs across England.

Unite national officer for health Sarah Carpenter said: “These findings reveal a management consultancy gravy train that is completely out of control, at a time when frontline services, such as A&E departments, are stretched to breaking point.

“Unite has been raising the alarm since last year that the highly secretive STPs in England are a Trojan Horse designed to push through an agenda of cuts and privatisation of NHS services.
“Harry Potter would need all his wizard powers to cut through the obfuscation and lack of transparency surrounding the STPs which appear to have been structured so that the public knows as little as possible about what’s happening to their beloved NHS.

“Health secretary Jeremy Hunt and NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens need to come clean as to exactly what STPs mean for millions of patients facing lengthening waiting lists for operations and to have an appointment with their GP.

“A first step would be the pull the plug on this wasteful expenditure on these very expensive management consultants and to fight for ‘real’ increases in the NHS budget. Reports that local health managers felt under pressure by NHS England to employ these firms highlight this obsession with management consultants.   

“What the public wants is more doctors, nurses and paramedics, not management ‘whizz kids’ brandishing flip charts and PowerPoint presentations.

“Unite will be campaigning throughout 2017 to raise awareness as to the real impact for people in their local communities and the adverse impact on much-valued NHS services, such as the possible closure of A&E units.”   

Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health service, has been at the forefront of exposing the agenda behind STPs.

Last month, Unite highlighted expensive ‘guerrilla marketing’ tactics to be used to persuade people in Yorkshire, Humber and north Lincolnshire that ‘the noise’ about NHS cuts needs to be ‘turned down’.

Marketing and communications specialists  were asked ‘to express an interest’ in the £10,000 nine-month contract  to run from next month for the Humber, Coast and Vale Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP).


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.


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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.