Private healthcare companies, tech firms and management consultants have received millions of pounds in payments from public funds in the first full financial year of the coalition’s new-look NHS, according to a recent analysis carried out by the Guardian.
The National Health Organisation which assigns £96bn to fund England’s health services, published its first detailed report on all spending over £25,000 for the twelve months leading up to April, 2014.
Following efforts by online activists group 38 Degrees and transparency lobbyists Spinwatch, which resulted in 76,000 signatures on a 48 hour petition, the NHS has published its first comprehensive spending report.
The report demonstrates how big businesses have become enmeshed in the NHS and shows how millions of pounds were required to set up and run the new structures in the health service.
This includes computer maker, Dell, receiving £3.6m, and telephone provider Vodafone receiving £13.5 m a year.
These figures are a small example of the expenditures the NHS has made throughout England to private firms throughout the year.
Greater East Midlands Commissioning Support Unit (GEM), spent £190,000 a month for seven months on KPMG last year, however they have been challenged by Liz Kendall, of Labour, over a ‘series of care failures’ such as prematurely discharging patients without appropriate support.
Tamasin Cave, director of Spinwatch, told the Guardian: “NHS chiefs have gone big on transparency, but these figures are two years late and incomplete. We’ve got nothing on where the money went for the first six months of NHS England’s existence.
“But, the figures do begin to give us an accurate picture of the continuing cost of the reforms, the sums being spent on the new market in health services, and the flow of money to the private sector. In the data, there are bodies that evidently cost millions to set up just last year that don’t even exist today.
“The figures are in places damning. Why are commissioners in the East Midlands spending £200k a month on KPMG, when they only have one part-time person monitoring the quality of all their home care providers?”
“We are constantly warned about the NHS’s dire financial situation: hospitals facing bankruptcy, services being rationed, and the need for massive savings to be made if the NHS is to survive. But first, we need the stewards of the NHS budget to spend with care and where it matters.”
A spokesperson for NHS England said it “always intended to publish the information”.
“(We were) keen to do this and it was the first one and took a long time … because we had to check each line for patient privacy issues. From now on (the NHS) will be releasing the information monthly … [The NHS] takes transparency seriously.”
Andy Burnham, Labour’s shadow health secretary, said: “These figures alsoshow that the NHS was throwing money like confetti at private consultants at the same time that it was cutting nursing posts and cancer care.”