McKinsey & Company hired to review NHS technology services

16 November 2020 3 min. read

A contract published by the Department of Health and Social Care shows the department paid private consultants nearly £600,000 for its work on a review into NHS technology services. McKinsey & Company was awarded the seven-week contract via the Management Consultancy Services framework run by Crown Commercial Services.

The UK health and social care system is having to adapt quickly to a new environment, facing challenges including massive shortfalls in funding, and the colossal pressures placed upon it by an ageing population and an active pandemic. Digital innovation is seen as a key way for the NHS to meet spiking demand with depleted resources in the coming years. In order to enable the digitisation of the institution, the Government has regularly been tapping expertise from the consulting industry.

Earlier in 2020, this saw McKinsey & Company bag seven weeks of work on a major review into digital transformation in the NHS. The review was ordered by Health Secretary Matt Hancock in July, and saw the MBB strategy giant handed £588,000 for seven weeks of work, ending in mid-September.

McKinsey & Company hired to review NHS technology services

NHSX is a UK Government unit with responsibility for setting national policy and developing best practice for National Health Service technology, digital and data, including data sharing and transparency. Hancock had asked that the review examine how NHSX, NHS Digital and NHS England and Improvement work together to drive digital transformation in the health service.

While the review was headed by Laura Wade-Gery, the Chair of NHS Digital, the recently published contract revealed the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) drafted consultancy firm McKinsey to work on the review – recruiting the firm through the Management Consultancy Services Framework, run by Crown Commercial Services.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said of the contract, “Better use of technology means better healthcare and we want to capitalise on the huge advances we’ve made in the use of technology within the NHS since the coronavirus outbreak. Together with NHS Digital, NHS England, NHS Improvement, NHSX and alongside the support of external specialists, we are reviewing how we can best support the NHS to accelerate the use of technology, digital and data. The aim is to transform and improve services, as envisaged in the NHS long-term plan, so that we respond effectively to the healthcare challenges we face.”

McKinsey was also tasked with the undertaking of a review of the governance underwriting the UK’s test and trace programme during the summer. The move came as the project reached a cross-roads in its leadership’s mandate, weeks after the programme was criticised for being too slow to warn people in areas of high infection rates. It was later revealed the firm had scooped £563,400 to decide the “vision, purpose and narrative” of the NHS Test and Trace programme – which continues to struggle amid the UK’s huge second wave of the pandemic.

Overall, it has been revealed that consultants have racked up a £175 million bill for their work during the Covid-19 pandemic so far. The huge increase since August has seen UK Parliament announce a probe into its heightened use of management consultants amid the crisis.