Image for $40,000 for fly-in consultant

THE State Government spent $40,000 last year flying an English nursing expert to the state five times in 11 months.

Two of the visits were for just two days.

Health Minister Lara Giddings confirmed to Parliament yesterday Dame Catherine Elcoat flew business class to Tasmania five times between April 2008 and March this year at the Government’s invitation.

Dame Catherine is a professor and a director of nursing and patient care with the National Health Service in England’s East Midlands region.

Ms Giddings said Dame Catherine did not charge the Government consultancy fees, which would have exceeded $80,000.

Liberal health spokesman Brett Whiteley said yesterday a pattern of extravagance and waste was emerging within the Health Department.

His questions about Dame Catherine’s visits followed revelations the head of the department, David Roberts, spent more than $1000 hiring a taxi to travel between Hobart and Burnie one night last year.

Mr Roberts was appointed chief of the state’s Health Department in 2007, having previously been head of a public National Health Service trust running two hospitals in England’s Midlands region.

Dame Catherine was the service’s executive chief nurse.

Mr Whiteley queried why the Health Department was finding it necessary to employ experts and senior executives from the same part of England and at high cost.

“The Tasmanian people will see that we are asking very reasonable questions about why we are spending so much on English consultants and executives since Mr Roberts was appointed,” Mr Whiteley said.

Read more HERE

Margaretta Pos’ extensive questions to the DHHS remain unanswered: HERE