By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

DH paid consultants £73,000 to prepare official for MPs' grilling

The Department of Health spent more than £73,000 to prepare a senior official for a single appearance at the Public Accounts Committee.

Tim Donohoe, the DH’s senior responsible owner for local service provider programmes, racked up the bill over a 52-day period before facing questions from the committee, chaired by Margaret Hodge, about the National Programme for IT on 12 June.

Figures released following a Freedom of Information Act request revealed the consultants, were paid £1,714 a day for the first 29.5 days after they were used in February, then £1,000 a day for 23 days, at a total cost of £73,563.

The DH said use of consultants in this way had broken official policy and that this was a “one-off” incident that would not happen again.

A letter by Stephen Mitchell, DH head of accountability and regulation, to Steven Barclay, a Conservative member of the PAC, said: “Overall support from this consultancy covered the period from 4 February to 20 June 2013 during which time the total number of days used was 52.5.

“For the period from 4 February to 31 March, the daily rate for this work was £1,714, giving a total cost of £50,563.

“For the period from 1 April to 20 June, we renegotiated the day rate to £1,000 per day. The total cost for the entire period (4 February to 20 June) was therefore £73,563.

This consultancy - whose identity was not disclosed in the letter - also provided support for the hearing related to the National Programme for IT held in 2011.

Readers' comments (16)

  • Should be unbelievable..but sadly is not

    What next ?

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • if he worked in a provider he would have been made to resign What a complete waste of tax payers money.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • truly unbelievable, but is anyone surprised any longer by the DoH. And they seem pleased that they managed to renegotate the rate down to £1000 per day....

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • there will soon be more management consultants than medical consultants in the NHS. Perhaps McKinsey and PWC will start doing knee arthroscopies and tonsillectomies before long?

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • And the expenses and vat were also how much on the total bills from the consultants?

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • ..and the NHS during this period were refusing to fund treatments for patients . Truly appalling behavior- who signed this off?

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Is this person still employed? Why? They seem able to take 2 months out of their day job - for what?

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • do public bodies not have to publish payments of more than £500 on the website

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Candidates for the fit and proper person test?

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Surely they are entitled to some sort of money back guarantee.

    Goodness knows what the PAC appearance would have been like without paying more than the salary of two ward sisters for a year.

    Absolutely pathetic.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Outrageous, n the interests of accountability, the Consultants should be named, but agree with other responders, its the person authorising this who should be held accountable for a gross waste of public money.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Surely they are entitled to some sort of money back guarantee.

    Goodness knows what the PAC appearance would have been like without paying more than the salary of two ward sisters for a year.

    Absolutely pathetic.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • £73k for supporting the defence of the indefensible? A bargain compared to the enormous amount of money that NPfIT cost before it was abandoned

    Thank the Lord that NHS England are now going to achieve the same objective with £250m.

    Tim Kelsey obviously can fund an NHS IT Strategy with magic beans. I look forward to that EPR deadline of his falling by the way side. Thankfully HSJ will keep an archive of all his press statements so I can enjoy reading his empty promises all again in 2015!

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Whilst I agree with the above and think this is appalling, I do take umbrage at the idea we have more management consultants than medical. I was a cardiac surgical manager once upon a time and vividly remember NHS consultants making 30K a weekend at the Brompton and having to pay locums who did 4 to 6 procedures a week while their NHS colleagues did one. Outrageous greed. Bevan was right when he said we have to stuff the doctors mouths with gold. Perhaps we have less private practice now but I'll never forget that avarice. McKinsey's finest sharks having nothing to compare.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Anonymous 10.22.

    Then shame on you as an NHS senior manager for not changing this situation. It wasn't easy, and one had to have thick skin, but I discovered years ago, as an NHS senior manager and then CEO, that if you take a stand, act with integrity, are fair and clear about what is acceptable and what isn't, you can manage consultants - even those who have picked up the greed culture from colleagues. Sadly too few had the courage to take them on. I did and survived 14 years in the same successful Trust. A Trust with high quality clinical services and a healthy financial record. It is possible, but it takes a real dedication into doing what is right not what is trendy or convenient.

    The only criticism levied towards my Trust by our Regional Office was that we 'seemed boring'. Oh for some boredom in today's NHS! I am so glad to be out of it and so sad to watch its demise.

    Recently Retired CEO (with compromise agreement - hence anonymity)

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Retired CEO....
    Previous poster here.
    Our medical director was one of them. Our trust was in permanent turnaround. There were 3 people in my job in less than 2 years. Commissioners wanted to squeeze £5M out of a £2M service. We had several judicial reviews and other issues I will not elucidate because it would identify the organisation. One famous individual was quoted as saying you only need one head on a pole. I agree. As a band 7 newly qualified MTS I was not in a position to do what my Board should have done. Well done for surviving and thriving and I'm sorry you left under a shadow but please don't assume I was complicit in the situation by staying in post and not being able to change things. Lower down the food chain, the pressure is as intense but if you aren't supported by people at your level, heaven help you.
    Thankfully the trust is now under new leadership and the culture of male medical greed is slowly changing.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment.

Share this



Related images

Related Jobs

Sign in to see the latest jobs relevant to you!

Sign up to get the latest health policy news direct to your inbox