Health consultancy fees ‘could have been used to benefit patients’

Health bosses spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on consultancy and admin fees while developing a local five-year plan to plug a £628m funding gap.

A total of £285,527 was spent on various fees during the development of the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), devised by local health bosses in Nottingham’s hospitals, councils and other health authorities.

The STP sets out draft guidelines on how services must change before 2021, and warns that there could be a £628m difference between Nottinghamshire’s health and social care service budget and the money required to meet the demands of the population.

During the development of the plan, £209,560 was spent on consultancy and programme management and £75,967 on independent freelance support staff.

Dr Irfan Malik, who works at the Elmswood Surgery in Sherwood, is surprised that the figure is not higher – but thinks the money could have been better spent on frontline services.

He said: “This does seem a lot on management costs. We had a similar problem when Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust tried to merge [which cost £10m] – a lot of that was management and professional costs.

“At the end of the day we want the best deal for our patients and we would like more to go to the frontline where it makes a difference to patients. We could improve efficiency by cutting these management costs and it gives us a bit more focus on the frontline.”

Full story in the Nottingham Post, 21 March 2017