The cash-strapped NHS could be spending up to £15 million on management consultants for advice on the secretive shake-up of the health service in England, Unite, the country’s largest union, warned today (Monday 16 January).
Unite, with 100,000 members in the health service, said that health secretary Jeremy Hunt needed ‘to come clean’ on the true cost of the expenditure on management consultants in relation to the 44 Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) for England.
The union said another major reconfiguration of the NHS, following hard on the heels of the controversial Health and Social Care Act 2012, could see closures or relocations of local hospitals and A&E departments.
Unite calculated the £15 million figure, after the media revealed that NHS chiefs in Coventry and Warwickshire had forked out £343,000 to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for advice on saving money in their local STP plan.
If each of the 44 STPs spent a similar sum on management consultants, the figure could reach £15 million, as the NHS is enveloped in a winter crisis, reinforced by hard-hitting comments last week by the chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens on the level of funding the NHS had received from the Tory government.
Unite national officer for health Sarah Carpenter said: “It is very disturbing news from Coventry and Warwickshire that the management consultants are again scooping up loads of taxpayers’ cash to proffer advice on the local STP.
“If this sort of spending was extrapolated across the 44 STPs in England we are talking about a figure of £15 million – Unite is calling on Jeremy Hunt to come clean on how much management consultants are being paid for so-called advice on STPs.
“Any such funds would be much better spent on frontline services, such as under pressure A&E departments, rather than on jargon-filled reports.
“The NHS is reeling from a starvation of cash. The health service is at crisis point and we have not yet reached the worst of the winter weather.
“Simon Stevens, the head of NHS England, is right to raise serious concerns at the insufficient level of NHS funding and an urgent financial injection into the health service is desperately needed.”
The 44 STP ‘footprints’ for the disparate geographical areas each have their own plans, which were prepared by mainly local NHS apparatchiks with no public involvement. The limited public consultation process was due to start this month, with implementation expected later in the year.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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.