Health trust's name change costs £6k

HEALTH bosses spent thousands of pounds on consultants to change the name of Suffolk Primary Care Trust to NHS Suffolk, it can be revealed.

Russell Claydon

HEALTH bosses spent thousands of pounds on consultants to change the name of Suffolk Primary Care Trust to NHS Suffolk, it can be revealed.

Campaigners fighting for better health services last night criticised the “rebranding” as a “total waste of money” and said the cash could have been spent on life-saving drugs.

A consultancy firm was paid £6,000 - enough for a hip replacement - for carrying out a “trust identity study” that came up with the name NHS Suffolk to replace Suffolk PCT.

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More than £100 was also spent on changing the sign at the local health provider's Rushbrook House HQ in Bramford, near Ipswich.

The figures, which show more was spent on the rebranding than the cost of removing three major brain tumours, were obtained by the EADT under the Freedom of Information Act.

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Peter Espley, acting chairman of the Ipswich Hospital Cancer Services User Group, described the change in name as “pointless”.

“This is a total waste of money,” he said. “Rebranding and re-marketing is not necessary.

“That amount of money could be used for the benefit of patients and care, especially in the use of very expensive drugs.

“There are so many acronyms in the health service today and rebranding groups and products is so unnecessary.”

He added: “Patients are not interested in the name. They just want to know if the service is good, how soon can they get treated and what drugs they can receive.”

David Ruffley, Conservative MP for Bury St Edmunds, said: “This is a hideous waste of precious NHS money.

“I could have come up with that name over a pint down at my local for no charge at all.

“If this waste is replicated across the system it could add up to a lot of money.

“The Primary Care Trust should be about patient care and funding drug treatments not corporate communications, it is that simple.”

A spokesman for NHS Suffolk said any other required sign changes, other than at the trust's HQ, will not come at any extra cost as they will be carried out as part of the normal replacement programme.

He defended the name change as necessary to explain more fully what the organisation is.

“Re-branding to NHS Suffolk, we believe, better explains our role and position as leaders of the NHS locally,” he said.

“It comes after a national consultation with primary care trusts and their partners.”

Suffolk PCT came into being in 2006 from the amalgamation of West, Central, Ipswich and Coastal primary care trusts.

NHS Suffolk received £642m in 2007-8 to plan and buy all the healthcare for the people in the county, excluding the Waveney district, which shares a health trust with Great Yarmouth.


n Eight operations on patients with acute liver disorders.

n Three complex brain tumour operations.

n Two pacemaker implants for heart failure and the accompanying surgery.

n A knee replacement.

n Resurfacing of a hip or a full replacement and the accompanying surgery.

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