Six-figure cost of team of experts brought in to help improve Health revealed

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A SMALL team of health consultants being brought in to help improve the department – with no specific performance targets – will cost up to £200,000 over three months, it has emerged.

The turnaround team – also referred to as the ‘change team’ – is a group of five external ‘experts’ being brought in to the Health Department in an effort to repair relationships between senior management and clinicians. The team is expected to be in the Island until December, at a potential cost of up to £800,000, which would equate to £160,000 per consultant for the year.

The news comes as it was revealed today in Bailiwick Express that HCS’s management staffing budget had increased by more than £3 million since 2019.

The decision to engage the turnaround team followed an independent review of the quality and safety of clinical services provided at the General Hospital, conducted by Professor Hugo Mascie-Taylor, who was then himself contracted to work three days per week at a rate of £1,440 a day.

Health Minister Karen Wilson has defended the figure for the first quarter of the year, arguing that it is determined by ‘market factors for the experience and skillsets needed’.

A report published by Professor Mascie-Taylor setting out the findings of his review was published in August 2022. In it he raised concerns over the management and working culture within the Health Department, alleging a ‘Jersey Way’, ‘bullying’ and a ‘bias against standardisation’.

The Comptroller and Auditor General has also issued a report describing poor relations between clinicians and senior management.

At the end of January, the government announced that five ‘independent experts’ had been engaged as part of the change team until the end of 2023.

A recent response to a freedom of information request has revealed that the total cost for the team – including renumeration, flights and accommodation – is estimated to be up to £200,000 in the first quarter of the year.

‘The actual cost will depend upon factors such as number of days worked and frequency of travel required in order to support each phase of the turnaround. The team members will not be paid for any non-working days,’ the response continued.

‘Costs are not provided on an individual basis, as the daily rates paid to individual contractors are considered to be commercially sensitive.’

Deputy Wilson said: ‘The cost for the change team is determined by market factors for the experience and skillsets needed to turnaround HCS. The funding required for the turnaround phase was approved through the Government Plan adopted by the States Assembly.

‘The team’s performance will be assessed against the plan for the turnaround and transformation of Health and Community Services, as published in 2022.’

The paper asked what the ‘specific, measurable key performance indicators’ that the change team will be working to and received the following response.

Deputy Wilson responded: ‘The change team will be measured against progress in delivering the actions, recommendations and outcomes specified in the review of HCS clinical governance arrangements published in August and the plan for turnaround and transformation of HCS published in October.’

Professor Mascie-Taylor is also the chair of a new board responsible for overseeing the Health Department and is to be contracted to work three days per week at a rate of £1,440 per day – roughly £225,000 for the year.

Who is on the change team?

According to the government, Chris Bown will be leading the change team.

‘Mr Bown is a health professional with over 35 years’ experience in senior board-level leadership roles, the last 17 years at a senior level, including time spent in the Health Service in the Bahamas. Mr Bown has practical experience in leading organisations through significant change and service transformation to deliver improvements for patients.

‘Beverley Edgar is a highly experienced human resources director, working at executive director level since 2008. Professor Simon Mackenzie joins the team as the clinical lead. He has extensive experience in clinical leadership positions, and almost 40 years working in healthcare as a clinician, executive and non-executive.

‘Cathy Stone comes from the Isle of Wight and has 16 years of clinical experience as a nurse and midwife working at chief nurse level, as well as more recently at a clinical director/chief executive level in a hospice environment.

‘Obi Hasan has extensive experience of leading large-scale and complex transformation programmes and financial improvement programmes as programme director. He has over 20 years’ board-level experience in health services, public and private healthcare, and other private-sector industries.’

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