�1m on consultants and lawyers

NORFOLK and Waveney's health bosses were slammed last night for spending more than �1m a year on outside consultants, including Bupa, lawyers and management consultants.

NORFOLK and Waveney's health bosses were slammed last night for spending more than �1m a year on outside consultants, including Bupa, lawyers and management consultants.

Costs have spiralled at under-fire NHS Yarmouth and Waveney, the health trust which plans and pays for local health services. It has paid out on consultants to assess health needs at Blundeston Prison and paid for help drawing up bids for building work - even though it has had to give back �7.5m of the cash it was then awarded.

And its counterpart covering the rest of Norfolk, NHS Norfolk, has paid Bupa Commissioning �82,000 for “organisational development, including team coaching and masterclasses”. NHS Norfolk has 270 of its own staff, plus some 3,000 in its provider arm, Norfolk Community Healthcare.

The figures, released after a Freedom of Information request from the EDP, show the total bill for April to December last year at NHS Norfolk was �477,735. If this spending level is continued for the rest of the financial year, it would add up to �637,000 - up from �623,400 in 2007-8.

At the smaller NHS Yarmouth and Waveney, they spent �434,433 in April to December - equivalent to �579,000 over a full year. This is an increase of nearly 400pc on 2007-8, when they spent �153,000. Between the two primary care trusts the bill is currently more than �1m a year.

Other Yarmouth and Waveney spending included �150,000 to Deloitte to develop “world-class commissioning” - progress on which was criticised by an external report last month.

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Norwich North MP Ian Gibson said: “They should be spending much more money on care and attention to patients. Their whole approach is passing the buck to someone else all the time. They should do the work and see the problems themselves.”

Norman Lamb, North Norfolk MP and Liberal Democrat health spokesman, said: “It is an enormous cost. This is money that is not being spent on patient care. Lawyers and management consultants are making a large amount of money from the NHS.”

Yarmouth MP Tony Wright said: “Overall I would much rather they were using consultants less.”

Mike Stonard, chief executive of NHS Yarmouth and Waveney, said they had agreed major investments to give their residents the best possible health services. “To help us deliver both these plans and the mandatory NHS-wide strategy work required by the government, there are occasions when we have needed to draw on external expertise to complement the in-house skills we already have in place. This specialist advice has helped us to ensure a number of complex projects and improvement programmes can be delivered effectively and efficiently.”

He added that they were developing their own staff to increase home-grown skills and expertise.

A spokesman for NHS Norfolk said consultants had been used to “support our development as we move forward to become world class commissioners and to support the separation of our provider function”. “The figures include the costs for services, eg legal services, where it is more practical to contract for external support rather than have an in-house team. This means we are able to remain focused on the delivery of excellent health, outstanding care and best value for Norfolk.”


NHS Norfolk, April 2007-December 2008

Legal firms: �713,269 - Commercial legal advice

BUPA Commissioning: �82,245 - Organisational development including team coaching and masterclasses

Newchurch business consultants: �66,663 - Consultancy work

Finnamore management consultants: �44,017 - Report into bed availability and demand in Norfolk

Bidwells: �34,045 - Move from St Andrew's House, Thorpe St Andrew, to Broadland Business Park, Thorpe St Andrew

Wilson Consult: �26,666 - Managing use of Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Green & Kassab: �20,719 - Estates consultancy

ATM Consulting: �17,228 - Staff planning

Durrow Consulting: �11,574 - Managing use of the N&N

Russell Associates: �10,901 - Support for learning difficulties tender process

Pure Resourcing Solutions: �10,252 - Employment agency costs

Bellis-Jones, Hill & Proda: �5,534 -Route map Project

Other suppliers under �5,000: �58,028 - Consultancy work

NHS Yarmouth and Waveney, April 2007-December 2008

Deloitte: �150,000 - Development of the PCT's world class commissioning strategy

Finnamore management consultants: �89,169 -Development of business cases for improving services and the PCT's buildings

Tribal public sector consultants: �48,578 - Developing a communications and engagement strategy

N A Wilson Associates: �41,447 - Specialist planning and report into primary care

PricewaterhouseCoopers: �31,100 - Professional advice on splitting off community services arm

East of England SHA: �30,000 - Support for in “turnaround” improvement process

Pinsent Masons: �26,971- Legal advice on splitting off community services arm

Matrix: �26,215 - Review of unplanned care

Fusion Business Solutions: �24,187 - Development of the IT help desk

Ipsos Mori pollsters: �20,073 - Local costs of national survey of patients' views on health services

HR specialist services: �10,421 - Advice on governance arrangements for community services after splitting off

Paul Brotherton Consulting: �10,339 - Public health assessment of health needs at Blundeston prison

Other suppliers under �10,000: �89,079 - Consultancy work