NHS Strategic Projects Team to be Axed

An award winning team of consultants linked to a series of failed multi-million pound NHS deals is to be scrapped.

The Strategic Projects Team, which has been involved in £6 billion worth of major projects during its lifecycle in the NHS, is to be annulled.

However, despite the lofty reputation of the unit, NHS England has expressed real concerns about the work conducted by the Strategic Project Team, indicating that it will now be closed down.

The Strategic Projects Team was formed back in 2009, and was notable for working on major contracts such as the Hinchingbrooke Hospital franchise.

A five-year £800m UnitingCare contract for older people’s service in Cambridgeshire was also under the banner of the specialist unit.

The team had previously been honoured for its work at the Independent Healthcare Awards and HealthInvestor Awards, but NHS England has now decided that it is surplus to requirements.

With question marks over the efficacy of the unit in several of its key projects, healthcare bosses have decided to cease its operation.

The Strategic Projects Team posted on its own website that its modus operandi is to “support projects which are often complex, hugely challenging and require a relentless work ethic”.

While the unit has been placed in charge of some of the most complex and challenging projects in the NHS, NHS England is nonetheless concerned about the quality of work delivered by the team.

But there is also an implication that the NHS, in England at least, is beginning to move away from large outsourcing projects such as Hinchingbrooke and UnitingCare.

However, the BBC has reported that there were no ministers directly involved in the decision to close the unit, indicating that this was not a specific political move.

The BBC quoted one senior manager from the organisation, who suggested that the failing of some projects has been due to a “total refusal to acknowledge reality”.

“Any fool could’ve seen from the start that the competing regulatory requirements meant the project was doomed. Had the SPT been willing to listen we could’ve found a much better solution,” he commented.

A spokesman for NHS England outlined the policy with regard to this special unit.

“In the light of recent NAO and NHS England investigations we have real concerns about the work of the Strategic Projects Team, which as a result is going to be closed down as an offshoot of the Arden and GEM CSU.”

Recent National Audit Office reports have been somewhat critical of some of the work undertaken by the Special Projects team.


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