£2,000 a day for Marbella-based management consultant?

Plaid AM’s frustration as health board refuses to respond

Delays in responding to questions about management consultants earning up to £2,000 a day at a beleaguered health board have been raised in the Senedd.

Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM, said that he has written to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board in response to a anonymous letter featuring allegations made by the health board insider.

He said: “I wrote to the chief executive and chair of BCUHB because these were specific allegations and I wanted to know if there was any truth in them. It’s disappointing that, to date, I’ve yet to receive a reply or even an acknowledgement after more than four weeks. As a result I’ve submitted a Freedom of Information request but that is still outstanding.

“I’m particularly concerned about rumours circulating within Betsi Cadwaladr health board that the Recovery Director Phillip Burns, who was appointed in July to oversee savings, is earning £2,000 a day and is also working from his home in Marbella. I have asked whether he is being paid that and whether he is getting expenses to travel from Marbella.

“I understand he is overseeing the proposed changes in the nurses’ rotas, which have proved massively controversial and are aimed at saving £25,000 a month from the board’s agency nursing bill. If that’s correct, then the health board’s plan to change nurse rotas will save less than they’re paying this one person every month.

“These planned changes to nursing rotas will, I believe, backfire on the health board as nurses will retire earlier, leave the profession or reduce their hours. If it turns out to be the case, then further questions need to be asked about senior management’s decision making and their use of outside management consultants earning astronomical rates.”

Mr Gruffydd raised the matter in questions to health minister Vaughan Gething, who responded by saying the delays in responding were unacceptable.

He added: “There is a legitimate public interest in knowing whether this claim is accurate. There is no excuse for ignoring an elected representative who is raising these concerns privately. I feel I have to make this public to get a straight answer. I’m sure BCUHB staff will be interested in the response and I’m glad that the health minister feels the delay is unacceptable.”

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