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Healthcare bosses pay consultancy firm £6m to make budget cuts

Health and social care leaders in Kent and Medway paid over £6m to one management consultant to draw up plans to overhaul the local healthcare system.

A freedom of information request sent by local campaigners to Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust revealed that Carnall Farrar was paid £6,051,199 between 2015/16 and 2017/18 ‘to contribute their expertise, capacity, skills and experience of delivering large-scale change programmes’ to create the budget cutting plans.

However, local GPs have said the sum is a ‘dizzying amount to spend’ in a region with high deprivation and ‘significant unmet needs’, which has seven practices in Folkestone – which cover around 64,000 patients - having to apply to NHS South Kent Coast CCG for formal list closure, saying there is a shortage of 16 full-time equivalent GPs.

A Pulse investigation last year revealed that healthcare bosses paid management consultants £21m to draw up ‘sustainability and transformation plans’ (STPs), including £2.97m paid to Carnall Farrar from Kent and Medway health bosses between 2015/16 and 2016/17.

The STPs were first announced by NHS England in December 2015, with the aim of making £22bn worth of cuts to the health services by 2020/21.

The plans for Kent and Medway aim to save £486m from the healthcare budget by 2020/21 through a number of cost cutting measures including consolidating services for stroke patients from six hospitals into three ‘hyper acute stroke units’. 

The plans also propose downgrading the A&Es at Queen Elizabeth Queen Mother hospital and the William Harvey, Ashford in east Kent.

But Dr John Allingham, medical secretary of Kent LMC, said such plans would be difficult to carry out ‘while we are so desperate for clinicians’.

He said the money paid to Carnall Farrar ‘remains a dizzying amount to spend on management at a time when we are so short of resources at the front line’.

He said: ‘There is a lot of activity within the STP, many meetings and plans, but while we are so desperate for clinicians they will be difficult to deliver.’

Dr Allingham previously described the money spent on consultancy firms as ‘an eye-watering amount of money’ to spend in a region with high deprivation and ‘significant unmet needs’.

Julie Wassmer, one of the campaigners who submitted the FOI said paying management consultants to make budget cuts ‘within an underfunded service is not only senseless, it’s immoral’.

But Glenn Douglas, chief executive and chair of the Kent and Medway sustainability and transformation partnership (STP), said in-house NHS staff ‘do not have the time, nor necessarily the experience and specific skillsets needed’ to draw up the plans ‘within the timescales required, without additional external support’.

He added that the consultants particularly contributed ‘modelling and analytics, strategy development and programme management’.

Carnall Farrar declined to comment on particular contracts but confirmed their involvement in the STP, including identifying savings of £332m by reducing avoidable admissions and improving productivity.

What are the sustainability and transformation plans proposing?

Pulse’s scrutiny of the 44 STPs have previously revealed how

Readers' comments (14)

  • Kent and Medway has not seen a change in management since 2005. The Managers of the failed PCT head NHSE and CCGs. The lack of transparency is gobsmacking. After 7 years of hoarding Section 101 monies, a Millions pounds was given to the CCGs after intervention of the local MP Kelly Tolhurst. She also identified a total of 3 mls unspent and unallocated money from this pool for Kent GP Surgeries. However, months later - there is no sign of the money although CCGs agreed this had been given to them. Waiting to allocate themselves annual bonuses ? Welcome to Kent and Medway the epitome of all ills in UKs NHS.

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  • End of the line?

    Quick google search
    Carnall Farrar is a management consultancy dedicated to improve health, care and public services.
    It is led by experienced senior leaders from healthcare, the public sector, consultancy and leadership development.

    We help clients realise change, improve performance and bring an organisation's ambitions to life.

    I guess this is where all health ministers dream of ending up.

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  • End of the line?

    What is this organisations ambition

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  • Ruth Carnall was CEO of Kent Strategic Authority! Thus “New Role” and “loadsamoney”!Management Rule!!

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  • End of the line?

    Basically sounds like the Tories just gave themselves a backhander

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  • The £6m business case:

    'My spreadsheet says that if we encourage 30% of staff to leave without being replaced we will save £40m.

    The staff left are self selecting as mugs so will suck up the rest of the work. Don't worry about any resistance - the government has beefed up the use of manslaughter charges to ensure doctors take personal responsibility for any system failures.

    To avoid patients dying we will employ innovative technology - some kind of app or something.'

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  • Here's a novel cost cutting measure for Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust....
    Don't engage expensive, working for profit, external management consultant agencies to advise you when your in-house & 'at the coal face' staff can tell you where the money is needed if you would only listen.
    There you are.. simples.. kerching!!
    An extra £6,051,199 to spend on the currently underfunded clinical workload!!!

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  • if the NHS management don't have the time nor the expertise, what are they being paid handsomely for?

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