FINANCE: Barts Health Trust spent more than £7m on five consultancy firms in the 14 months to December as part of its financial turnaround project, HSJ can reveal. The turnaround programme began at the start of the 2013-14 financial year.

The cost of the consultancy firms was equivalent to 12 per cent of the £59m the trust managed to save last year. This was significantly less than the £77.5m saving the programme aimed to achieve.

The largest amount was spent on PwC, which earned up to £4.85m up to December.

One company, Titanium Global Solutions, is the trading arm of management consultant’s Donald Muir company, which earned £1.38m from Barts.

Three more businesses all earned significant six figure sums. According to information held by Companies House, they all have a single director.

The consultancy contracts were:

  • Burnett Re-Engineering, £312,056;
  • Cairdeas Consulting, £202,030;
  • JAT HR, £252,875;
  • PwC, £4,857,833; and
  • Titanium Global Solutions, £1,376,937

The information was revealed in a Freedom of Information Act request by Tim Crocker-Buqué, a former Barts employee who shared the reply with HSJ.

Dr Crocker-Buqué said the amount of money spent was “mind bending”.

He added: “My impression is that there hasn’t been radical change in the way the trust is functioning to warrant £7m worth of management consultancy advice.”

HSJ understands Cairdeas Consulting is a company run by former NHS finance director Vince Doherty, who has been appointed as the turnaround finance lead at Barts since September 2013, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Barts Health refused to tell HSJ what work the five firms had carried out or the level of savings each had delivered.

In a statement, the trust said: “The use of management consultants by Barts Health is limited to areas where it will deliver the best value for taxpayers. With the help of the specialist support we commissioned, Barts Health delivered £59m of cost savings last year while still continuing to deliver high quality, compassionate care to our patients.

“Having undergone a period of significant change which followed the creation of Barts Health, a phased reduction of consultancy support has begun. Where support is retained it will be on a project basis to provide specialist support on short term contracts.”

None of the companies were available to comment as HSJ went to press.