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It is barely news these days when one of the so-called big four consultancies pick up a £600,000 contract from the government, but some deals do deserve a closer look.

McKinsey’s deal with the Department of Health and Social Care to help an ongoing review of NHS tech leadership is noteworthy for a couple of reasons.

First, the review itself has the potential to come up with some significant recommendations for how the relevant national bodies can – in the words of DHSC – “support the NHS to accelerate the use of technology, digital and data”.

This could mean a shifting of roles and responsibilities within organisations such as NHS Digital, NHS England/Improvement and newcomer NHSX. While the review is led by incoming NHS Digital chair (and NHS E/I board member) Laura Wade-Gery, McKinsey’s input could therefore have a significant impact on how tech is overseen nationally in future.

Second, it is not clear what exactly McKinsey’s remit was within the review. The “services required” section of the contract was redacted which – in Daily Insight’s experience – is unusual for this kind of work.

The DHSC would only say that McKinsey has “digital and sector specific knowledge, expertise and capabilities to provide the required analysis and input to the review at pace”, when asked why the consultancy was chosen and what it would be doing.

Finally, the value of the contract is also worth highlighting. The DHSC forked out £588,000 for a contract valid for 43 working days. That amounts to a daily rate of more than £13,600.

The DHSC would not say how many of the consultancy’s staff worked on the review. 

Northern exposure

The second covid wave is spreading across the country. The North remains the focal point while hospital admissions continue to rise in the South, South West and the East.

The North West, particularly Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside have been most heavily affected to date.

But it seems rates in the North East and Yorkshire are starting to creep up. We have already seen high numbers of admissions and deaths in hospitals in the Tyne, Tees and Wear but now the NHS providers in the Yorkshire component of this sprawling NHS region are feeling the heat.

The NEY region is seeing admissions increase at twice the rate of the hospitals in the North West. This appears to be driven by trusts in Yorkshire health systems. South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw and West Yorkshire and Harrogate both have among the highest rates of beds occupied by patients with covid.