Dismay over Trust consultancy bill

ONE OF the chief campaigners behind the successful fight to keep key services at the DGH in recent years has spoken of her surprise at NHS bosses’ £4million consultancy bill.

Liz Walke, who heads the Save the DGH group and helped fend off fears over mooted plans to move maternity services to Hastings back in 2006, said she was flabbergasted to hear about the mammoth payments revealed earlier this month by the Herald.

A Freedom of Information Act request showed that East Sussex Healthcare Trust, which runs both the DGH and the Conquest, splashed out £4,1105,605 on outside help between December 2010 and November 2011.

Recently chief executive Darren Grayson said the trust, which was charged with saving £30million this year, will get through these tough financial times. Now though, Ms Walke has revealed her astonishment at the money which the DGH’s hierarchy continues to spend on consultants.

She said, “I cannot believe that the trust which runs our hospital has spent £4million on management consultants.

“The hospital’s finances for the current year are in dire straits because they didn’t manage to break even by the end of the last financial year. Is it any surprise when £4million has been spent on management consultants?

“From what I understand, taxpayers’ money is given to hospitals to run their hospitals efficiently and safely. This is the board of director’s responsibility. And for doing this there are rewards, financial rewards for the trust.

“So if either things aren’t being done right, like showing correct audits or just plain overspending, the trust (and consequently our local hospital, the DGH) is effectively penalised as the next financial year has to give greater savings. Are these the savings which the chief executive has been talking about? If so, why then should it be the front line core services at the DGH which stands to be lost or downgraded?

“Talk of specialist services is all very well but we want local core services provided at the DGH.”