HEALTH chiefs are set to spend almost £3million on a review into how to save money across the NHS in Dorset.

NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (Dorset CCG) has hired consultants to look at ways of cutting costs and making the health service more efficient, it has been revealed.

The news comes as a campaign against alleged privatisation of the NHS gathers pace in the county.

A major review into the way healthcare is provided across the county was launched by Dorset CCG in October in a bid to make the service more efficient in the face of changing health needs across Dorset and dwindling funding from central Government.

But it has now been revealed the group will spend £2.75 million on the review and has hired a consortium of consultants, headed by American-based international consultancy firm McKinsey & Company.

McKinsey, which has also taken part in NHS reviews in Bedfordshire, was appointed as the lead supplier of consultants after a tender process, beating 14 companies to the contract.

The firm specialises in management consultancy and will be joined in the consortium by Capsticks and PA Consulting.

The consortium will play a pivotal role in the first phase of the review, which is set to run until spring 2015 and will evaluate every aspect of medical care the NHS provides in Dorset.

After the first stage of the review comes to an end next year, a blueprint of the way the NHS in the county moves forward will be provided and will go under public consultation before any changes are finalised.

The Dorset Health Campaign, which campaigns for the future health and quality of NHS care in Dorset, has slammed the cost of the review and the appointment of the consultants, and has said it fears there will be increased privatisation in the service in Dorset following the review.

Speaking on behalf of the Dorset Health Campaign, county councillor Ros Kayes said: “We could be looking at the dismantling of health provision as we know it in Dorset. We find the choice of this consulting firm to undertake the clinical services review quite frankly alarming.

“Apart from anything else the cost of this review will be several millions at a time of supposed cuts and savings.

“We are also concerned that it may lead to a destabilising of acute hospitals and potential closures or forced mergers as well as the risk of bringing in private community service providers.”

Residents’ fight sign of the times

WEYMOUTH residents have put up protest signs against the privatisation of NHS services.

Gardens in Chickerell were dotted with signs, similar to estate agent boards, stating ‘Stop the sale!’ and ‘NHS not for sale’.

The protest, led by campaign group Save Dorset NHS, is calling for the NHS to be exempt from an EU trade deal with the US, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which could lead to the privatisation of services.

Houses in Sherborne and Dorchester have also taken part in the campaign.

Sean Gray, one of the campaigners, said: “We have 400 households who have agreed to display the signs.

“We are very grateful that people in West Dorset want to display their opposition to further privatisation.”

Residents of Marshallsay Road in Chickerell raised the boards to show their support for the NHS.

Debi Roberts said: “I think it’s disgusting they want to privatise the NHS and people will have to pay. We pay for enough in this country and it is going to take jobs away.”

Sandra Ward, 66, has relied on the NHS to care for her brother, who suffered a brain injury.

She said: “My brother is critically ill with a brain injury in hospital and is just going into a care home and the NHS has saved his life.

“He had his accident while living in America, and although he had Medicare they only pay for 80% of the cost so he’s left with around £20,000 of debt.

“Here the hospitals are brilliant, so I fully support this petition.

Norma Maddocks, 70, said: “We are fortunate to have the NHS because many countries do not have anything like it.”

  • Dorset CCG has defended the appointment and said it hired McKinsey as the lead supplier for the review purely in a ‘support’ role to offer skills and services the CCG could not provide.

The CCG has also defended the amount of money it’s spending on the review as the money was from a one-time allocation and it would have no impact on the current provision of care or services.

A spokesman said: “The specialist skills, experience, capacity and expertise to deliver a major Clinical Services Review of this kind does not exist within Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group.

“We appreciate the cost of delivering the first stage of the review may seem like a large amount of money, however it represents less than 0.3 per cent of the annual budget of the CCG and is an investment to help us secure a financially and clinically sustainable healthcare system for Dorset for the long-term.

"There are a number of reasons for the review, not least of which is that if we do nothing, as a healthcare community we will face a funding gap of around £167m by 2021.”