Hospital trust spends £8k on Australia trip
9:50am Sunday 2nd September 2012 in News
ROYAL Bolton Hospital’s chief executive and five senior members of staff spent £8,500 travelling to a conference in Australia — to share tips on wasteful practice.
The trip was part-funded by the Australasian Lean Healthcare Network.
Bolton NHS Foundation Trust’s chief executive Lesley Doherty was keynote speaker. The two-day conference, her flight, accommodation and conference fee were funded by the organiser.
The other five members of the team, which included the executive lead for strategy and improvement, a senior improvement lead, two senior doctors and a senior district nurse, also had their accommodation and fees paid for by the organiser.
Speaker fees were used to pay for the flights of one of the group, but the Bolton NHS Foundation Trust had to pay for flights for four members of the team.
Brisbane hosted the network’s eighth International Redesigning Healthcare Summit, and Ms Doherty, who took the time as annual leave, spoke about awards the Trust has won for improving patient care by reducing wasteful practice.
Two flights were paid for with income generated by visitor days to Bolton, to learn about the Bolton Improving Care System, which works to find efficiencies in the hospital.
Money for the other two flights came from the medical education fund and taken as study leave.
The Department of Health published a report in December last year which encouraged Trusts to “explore opportunities to increase national and international healthcare activity” to obtain performance-related bonus payments.
Heather Edwards, head of communications at the Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This was a very worthwhile opportunity to share our experiences and learn from others.
“It was a two-day conference and the team was also asked to give a day’s training workshop to health professionals.
“Any benefits from the trip will be declared in line with the Standards of Business Conduct at the end of the financial year.
“We do not currently have any further visits planned and would not accept invitations if there was a cost to the Trust.”
The hospital’s finances have been put under “red risk” by health watchdog Monitor and an investigation launched by the Trust after a review found that £3.8 million was unaccounted for.
The Royal Bolton must save £20 million in this financial year and more than £50 million over the next three years.