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Investigation reveals Princess Alexandra Hospital bosses business trip to Las Vegas cost over £58,000

Health / Thu 4th Jan 2024 at 10:34am

A FREEDOM of Information (FoI) request has revealed that a business trip to Las Vegas for Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) staff cost over £58,000.

A number of questions were submitted to the Trust in November.

PAH had twenty working days in which to respond.

As you can see from the answers below, it appears that at least two senior members of staff travelled to Las Vegas and stayed at least one night in order to go to a health-related conference at the city in Nevada.

Here are the answers to the original questions.

In the last six months:

  1. The Trust has paid for two flights to Las Vegas (including Trust Board Directors)
  2. The Trust is currently implementing Electronic Health Records which is line with the Trust’s strategy.  To aid this transition, members had to attend a conference which was taking place in Las Vegas.  
  3. The total cost of the flights and overnight stay totalled £58,476.

Your Harlow did not submit the FOI. It was submitted by a private individual. We then submitted a number of questions to the communication team at PAH.

What we were trying to establish, was whether a very short health service related trip to Las Vegas, really cost over £58,000.

Our questions were:

Questions.

You reference paying for two flights. How many people, representing PAH, have actually flown to Las Vegas on PAH businesss?

Why did you “have to attend”?

Could you break down the total cost of flights and overnight stay?

How much was each flight ticket?

How much was hotel bill?

=====

The Trust later expanded on their original answers but not to us, but the person who submitted the FOI.

Q1. What flights have the trust paid for and to where, this should include trust board directors –

A. The Trust has paid for flights to Las Vegas and flights for international recruits.

Q2. What was the business reason for these flights. –

A. Attendance at a conference in Las Vegas and flights for international recruits to the UK and at relevant stages, flights to Ireland for international recruits to write OSCE examinations.

Q3. And if these resulted in an overnight stay what were these costs to the trust. –

Our expenses system does not allow us to identify all the costs associated with the flights for international recruits.

We can confirm that the costs for flights, subsistence and accommodation in respect of the conference in Las Vegas totalled £58,476.

This conference was attended by staff who are leading the implementation of a new electronic health record system which has national funding.

Your Harlow submitted a number of further questions to PAH.

Questions

Would you consider spending £58,000 on a short trip to Las Vegas excessive?

Would you agree that the optics are not great?

Could you justify the expenditure to service users in Harlow and beyond?

=========

To this date, they have not responded.

We will continue to pursue this matter with PAH and beyond.

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40 Comments for Investigation reveals Princess Alexandra Hospital bosses business trip to Las Vegas cost over £58,000:

Nick
2024-01-04 10:51:46

There will be more to this than initially meets the eye - I would be interested to know the details. Will look forward to further updates. I dont mind the cash per se but would like to understand what benefits were realised following the trip.

Robert Thomas Furber
2024-01-04 12:07:27

Wow This is going some even by NHS profligacy 5 nights in Caesar's Palace plus AIRFARES £1329 Based on those figures they could have sent a delegation of 40 to that conference. The 'Comms' team will now have to earn their salaries not try to feast off other organisations in order to entertain (for instance) local MP's You can bet that patients won't find out about this story through the Hospital Radio now!

Adam
2024-01-04 12:42:03

My last trip to Vegas for business for a week cost 3k. That was direct flight to Vegas accommodation, then flight to LA accommodation and flight back from LA. In 2019 my company had 70 business trips for a total cost of 100k. Many to the USA. Very different when you have to make money not just be handed it via taxation. This is just again showing when you are funded by the tax payer no expense is spared. While claiming the NHS is underfunded, it is not but it has allocation and efficiency issues.

Bev
2024-01-04 13:45:51

£58,000? Did they fly 1st class, stay in a suite in the Palms Resort, eat caviar and drink champagne for 3 days then? If not, how did it ever come to that much? And on whose authority was that amount agreed? Sounds like misappropriation of funds. Sickening waste of NHS money, when I've seen staff struggle to find pillows for patients in A&E. As one told me 'they are like gold-dust in this place'.

Luke Burton
2024-01-04 14:53:01

That is a ridiculous amount. Heck I know corporate travel is expensive and even conference tickets can go up to $5K, but what PAH has paid is an absurd amount. Agree with Nick that there's probably more to this. Please keep pressing PAH on this, YH.

Mr Grumpy
2024-01-04 15:20:39

And this is why the NHS is in crisis Management wasting taxpayer's money left, right and centre. Stop their perks and maybe there will be plenty of money available for essential NHS services

Tim
2024-01-04 16:32:39

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-64582018

Tony Giess
2024-01-04 16:45:15

The trouble is, in management eyes, £58000 is ‘cheap’ !! In this financial situation, where everyone is trying to save money, why couldn’t the NHS looked for a far cheaper travel package? Money also spent on ‘international recruitment’ in other countries wouldn’t be needed if the huge amount of skilled workers who have moved to other countries worldwide to earn a proper income were to be paid a decent living wage! Isn’t this the cause of the latest strikes by junior doctors?

Martin
2024-01-04 17:00:40

I don’t understand why in this day and age conferences couldn’t be streamed online. There’s no way you have to go to them. £58k would have been saved with a simple teams or zoom invite.

Adam
2024-01-04 18:00:36

Martin in the pandemic many were but it is not the same. The main point of conferences is the human interaction people buy people ultimately. I have no issue PAH sending people to conferences, it could have led to great connections and knowledge sharing. However the cost for this is outrageous. As someone who attends and speaks at 10 plus conferences a year. I suspect the people involved did not care much about the conference but its location as a jolly.

Julie Nurse
2024-01-04 20:24:01

Owww well. I work my ass off at pah for this.. they need the sacking

Mandy
2024-01-04 20:24:23

Absolutely disgusting who on earth authorised this they should be ashamed of themselves considering the hospital is falling apart 2 lifts not working, nearly every public toilet out of order, suedge explosions at least twice a week.

Come me o KU
2024-01-04 20:25:29

Oh my god . Unbelievable. They need gone. Other years total expenses has been under 15 k.

Seamus
2024-01-04 20:30:07

Sadly it reflects what most people already know. The NHS IS being funded with record amounts but what needs to change is how it is spent by the trusts.

Aa
2024-01-04 23:49:13

Aa

Y is NHS is on its knees???
2024-01-05 00:06:44

Am an HCA in PAH ED, struggling most shifts with short staff & broken equipment. WHEREVER the ‘budget’ was from, why is it ok for managers who happen to be close friends to go on such a trip!? #holiday #takingthep

Mazzy
2024-01-05 08:36:09

At the end of the day, people want their appointments and admission dates kept. No matter what fancy system is brought in, it will be the same old scenario.

Guy Flegman
2024-01-05 10:37:58

The real story here is this is just the tip of the iceberg

HP
2024-01-05 10:41:41

Do we still have a well paid Chair of the Board? Is she not answering the questions - did she and her Board not authorise this expense? https://www.pah.nhs.uk/news-and-events/new-chair-appointed-for-local-hospital-trust-957/ Time this use of our money was called into check and these jobs for the “boys” / “girls” placed under serious review.

Sam Arcane
2024-01-05 12:21:43

@ Guy Flegman Its obviously NOT the tip of an iceberg, but a rare event that has rightfully angered a Hospital staff member so much, that they have engineered this leak via a targeted FoI

Alfred Peters
2024-01-05 12:22:42

haha lets all stand outside and clap the NHS on it's gravy train to the airport. It's never had more funding, if we could sack off these scroungers who've permeated their way into the public purse it would free some funds up for the actual critical staff like Doctors, Nurses, Porters, Cleaners etc.

Lewis
2024-01-05 12:40:36

what concerns me here is that not only have they clearly ripped off the taxpayer here, but they're doubling down on saying it's a good use of money for this new computer system. If they're this poor at evaluating appropriation of funds then how much are they going to overpay for the new system...scary!

Leon
2024-01-05 14:43:55

As someone who works at this hospital, I'm DISGUSTED with this blatant spending of the public purse. How was this allowed to happen. Makes my blood boil when real workers have given their all during the pandemic to save as many lives as possible, staff putting themselves at risk for the pittance that they get.

JSaunders
2024-01-05 15:01:01

Still waiting for answer to complaint 12 MONTHS despite referring to ombudsmen so good luck on 20 days to respond - Perhaps executive was away when i sent a letter to the CEO LAST APRIL !!!

Guy Flegman
2024-01-05 16:29:27

I have a multimillion pound business and if they cannot answer simple cost questions such as hotel and flight costs, then this really does indicate the health service managers are not fit for purpose. Maybe they would have been better off attend a basic accountancy course nearer to home first. As for digitising patient records, there are plenty of systems already available and surly these sort of systems should be dictated by someone in charge of the overall health service not local managers.To run a large Organisation efficiently it is best to use the same systems across the organisation. The NHS should never have been turned into lots of independent health trusts. This has just resulted in poor continuity across the health service and increased bureaucratic cost.

Lindsay Jeffrey
2024-01-05 17:11:14

There are successful implementations of EPR locally! Much cheaper to travel into East Anglia! Share the knowledge rather than reinvent. Other benefit would be that they are UK style patient records not as per the USA . Quite different models ! ,

Sam
2024-01-05 18:15:06

PAH wastes so much money, i left PAH and documented how money was wasted but no one was bothered. This is disgusting but no surprise. Money is not spent on patients or recruitment of nurses and Drs. It’s a corrupt establishment and an embarrassment to the NHS. If only the public knew!

Adam
2024-01-05 19:18:11

Sam, the public does know the NHS is a money pit which would consume every penny in the UK and still demand more. It is unfit, and run for the benefit of upper management. It needs to be abolished and reformed along side european models.

An outraged employee
2024-01-06 09:13:21

All the culprits should be held accountable. Those spent the money and the ones approved it. All accounts should be available to the public and PAH hospital to view. Where and how did they spend that much money in details.

An outraged employee
2024-01-06 09:14:48

All the culprits should be held accountable. Those spent the money and the ones approved it. All accounts should be available to the public and PAH staff to view. Where and how did they spend that much money in details.

Nostradamus
2024-01-06 09:43:17

Refer this to the Public Accounts Committee and National News outlets. A trip to Oxbridge would have provided all the knowledge needed for IT systems. What everyone has seemed to miss is that many people are opposed to their health records being handed over to big tec, who in return for providing the services will data harvest and sell it on and no IT system has yet been invented that's not got a fatal flaw: even if encoded the security systems can be by passed by a corrupt employee. The other point about every Trust reinventing the wheel in different and incompatible forms for everything they do is well made. Fat cat syndrome leads to bad services

DP
2024-01-06 09:48:56

They should be made to pay back any money over and beyond what was needed to reasonably do the trip. It’s a terrible waste of money and still hasn’t been explained.

Nostradamus
2024-01-06 09:49:30

Michelle Mone type thinking obviously. Goes with running down the nhs so it can be said not to work and usher in companies from the USA waiting to privatise the service

KCH
2024-01-06 12:44:21

Totally agree with Guy Flegman. I am a retired engineer (up to Director level), but spent 50+ years in the private sector where every PENNY spent had to be justified. It is about time these so called managers started managing or face the sack for gross incompetence.

Pete Smith
2024-01-06 14:06:55

Oh yes the NHS money PIT just like Labour great at spending other people's money....cut out fraud at all levels NOW.....

Jerry
2024-01-06 17:18:20

What hotel did they stay at? Hotels in Vegas vary from cheap budget ones to super de luxe that cost thousands of dollars a night. I have travelled to Vegas on many occasions and as they were business trips I had to stay in budget hotels and justify all my expenses!

Pedro
2024-01-07 00:55:53

The NHS doesn't have a funding issue, it does have a massive problem in how it spends OUR money, it needs to be subject to reviews and directors & managers made accountable

Kees
2024-01-07 22:13:21

And we have no toilet in my ward at PAH for close to a year now, been using the public toilet. What a shame!

Siobhan
2024-01-08 01:10:06

"Hospital bosses". This kind of corruption should surprise one. The NHS is full to the brim with all these indeterminate bureaucratic positions, middle managers and "diversity" officers etc, all of whom are essentially on the take. Get rid of all of them barring the absolutely essential and put that money into actually paying and training doctors and nurses instead? Will any party do that? Not Labour or Tories. And I'm sure the usual propaganda circles will try to squash this story - can't criticise the national religion.

Michael
2024-01-09 20:51:39

Anyone who work is this hospital knows the Shef Executive is worried just because of his friend/family and employees are just come to this work place because they know each other and experience No one check the ; Domestic Security Service Head of the nurses department Infection Control which are get pay for Nothing all this people found to work in this place as paradise. One DAY ALL YOUR CORRUPTION ALL YOUR EYES CLOSE AND IGNORE THE TRUTH ABOUT HARD PEOPLE WICH WORKING WITH HEART IN THIS PLACE YOU GONE PAY ONE DAY

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