GE Healthcare Finnamore. Nice to see GE Healthcare Finnamore once again scooping up the management consultancy prize at LaingBuisson’s 2016 Independent Healthcare Awards. When the company won the same award in 2014 the judges said that GEHF was “passionate about the sector with a clear focus on delivering innovation and excellence for demonstrable outcomes”.
So just another middling, niche brand, and why bother? Well not quite. GEHF was formed after a buyout in January 2014 of the healthcare consultancy Finnamore by General Electric, the fourth largest corporation in the world, and whose healthcare arm has an annual turnover of $11bn. At the time of the acquisition the new company said it now “combined GE’s global strength with Finnamore’s agility in health and social care”, which “puts us in a unique position to make a lasting impact on the transformation of healthcare in the UK”.
It’s worth noting that GEHF also set up a specific consultancy arm to advise on the benefits of integrating health and social care as well as associated provider models currently flooding the NHS market. This company, called, somewhat unadventurously, Integrating Care, has been rather influential in helping CCGs adopt such innovative approaches as ‘prime contracting’ which sees private companies winning tenders in excess of £1bn whilst assembling groups of NHS Trusts and clinician bodies in more lowly sub-contractual roles. It can also be assumed that GE itself is looking to expand its NHS profile on the technology front, particularly telemedicine and health informatics, which are routinely mentioned as a necessary component of the shift to integrated care.
Its name may not be memorable but Integrating Care does have a rather interesting group of advisers including such New Labour favourites as Paul Corrigan, Sir Neil McKay, Peter Colclough and Nicholas Hicks. And acting as chair is Sir John Oldham, the author – alongside KPMG and PwC – of Labour’s Miliband era position on the health service and whose report essentially argues that without integration the NHS will be unsustainable. At the time the shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham was rallying troops with calls to end privatisation, but these other key actors were quite keen, if not “passionate” about embracing the private sector. Corbyn’s Labour has not only to weed out such recalcitrants but also to resolve the ambiguities, to put it mildly, of what integrated care means, and to recapture it entirely for pubic ownership.