Belfast Telegraph

Consultants will pocket millions to save NHS cash

By Lisa Smyth

External consultants are to be paid millions of pounds by the Government to help the health service save money.

Health Minister Edwin Poots has revealed he has employed the services of Ernst and Young to assist with the implementation of Transforming Your Care — a major review of health and social care in Northern Ireland.

At a Press conference at Stormont yesterday, Mr Poots said consultants from Ernst and Young are offering advice on the best way to implement the recommendations in the review.

He was unable to give an exact cost of the service but said it is “millions rather than tens of millions”.

He also stressed he will only pay for their work if they deliver substantial savings.

“Encouraging me to bring in consultants is not easy,” he said.

“They have to deliver savings. No savings, no payment.”

Chief executive of the Health & Social Care Board John Compton, who also headed up the review, said using external consultants will speed up the overhaul of the health service.

Mr Compton said they have considerable experience in the area and will ultimately make the health service more efficient.

He also said the population plans, which are currently being developed by local bodies responsible for commissioning services, will “undoubtedly” recommend the number of acute hospitals in Northern Ireland be cut.

Until then, Mr Compton said he is unable to say which hospitals are likely to be affected.

It also emerged 1,500 healthcare staff may have to retrain or be redeployed as a result of Transforming Your Care.

Mr Compton ruled out compulsory redundancies and said that any job losses would be voluntary.

Background

Transforming Your Care aims to improve patient care and efficiency in the health service in Northern Ireland. Some recommendations of the review are already being implemented, including the installation of Electronic Care Records which Health Minister Edwin Poots said is expected to cut the number of hospital appointments by 10%.

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