�500K health service consultancy fees

HEALTH bosses have spent nearly half a million pounds on consultancy fees over a two-year period, new figures reveal today.

SUFFOLK: Health bosses have spent nearly half a million pounds on consultancy fees over a two-year period, new figures reveal today.

The latest statistics, released under the Freedom of Information Act, shows NHS Suffolk spent nearly �210,000 on outside consultants so far in the 2009/10 financial year.

Among the consultancy costs was an �87,000 payment to elite international management consultants McKinsey & Co for “organisational development” and �11,040 for “PCT talent management strategy implementation”.

Amazingly the figures reveal that the Primary Care Trust has spent 8 per cent more on consultancy fees this year compared to last year despite the threat of cutbacks due to the country's worst recession spell.

In addition NHS Suffolk has spent �33,000 on legal fees and �197,000 on property services, including �23,000 relating to the �475,000 purchase of Paper Mill Lane farm which is set to be turned into a car park.

For 2008/09 the PCT reported spending �193,788.19 on consultancy fees in total.

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Ben Gummer, the Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Ipswich, said: “These are huge sums of money - I am sure hard working nurses, doctors and support staff across our community will be as staggered and disheartened as I am by the inability of the PCT's board to control unnecessary spending.

“I have to say that as far as I can see, the money spent on 'PCT talent management strategy implementation' has produced very little in the way of results.

Prue Rush, health campaigner, added: “Once again, they [NHS Suffolk] have gone down the path of paying out unnecessarily to consultants to get common sense advice. There should be the talent and capability within their current structure to fulfil these needs and if not, they are employing the wrong type of management.”

Martin Royal, director of business development at NHS Suffolk, said: “Just like any other business that invests to expand and improve its services we are required to take legal, property and other specialist professional advice.

“We are continuing to progress our plans for service centres in, for example, Eye and Brandon. The specialist advice required for Paper Mill Farm is a small part of that wider authority. It is important to highlight that our management costs are below average in the region.”

What do you think about these fees? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.