The Tasmanian Health Department has denied that British bureaucrat Dame Catherine Elcoat, above, was paid 10,000 pounds as a consultant during a nine-day study tour to England by 20 health workers in September last year.
Tasmanian Times was told by a highly placed source that Dame Catherine was paid 10,000 pounds, but in response to our questions, Tasmania’s Chief Nurse Fiona Stoker said last night that Dame Catherine was not paid a consultancy fee.
Nineteen DHHS staff, including Ms Stoker, went on the tour led by Health Department secretary David Roberts, as well as ANF state secretary Neroli Ellis. The tour cost the Government $205,710.
Announcing the itinerary, to Allina Hospitals & Clinics, Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the United States from August 27 to 29, and to the United Kingdom from September 1 to 9, Mr Roberts said the English leg would include St Thomas’s Hospital, Guy’s Hospital, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, Kings Fund Centre, Royal College of Nursing and North East Midlands Trust, London and Oxford.
[It] “Will include meetings with the Chief Nursing Officer of England, Dame Christine Beasley and the Chief Nursing Officer of the North East Midlands Trust, Dame Catherine Elcoat and will cover leadership, nursing roles and responsibilities, skill mix, nursing education, regulation and patient care,” he said. “Participants will explore the National Health Service initiative, ‘Releasing Time to
Care: Productive Ward Concepts,’ which has been instrumental in enabling ward staff to spend more time in direct care.
“Tour participants will also be engaging with nurses who are leading change
and initiatives in safety and quality.”
Dame Catherine chaired the committee responsible for ‘Releasing Time to Care: Productive Ward Concepts.’
Dame Catherine visited Tasmania five times in eleven months between April 2008 and March this year: April 19-25, June 19-20, September 29-October 3, November 26-28, and March 7-13. The September visit was only days after the return of the study tour from the UK.
DHHS paid business class airfares for Dame Catherine, which cost $40,000, but has refused to say if she was accompanied by a family member on one or more trips and if so, whether this was an additional cost, and has not revealed her living expenses while here. (DHHS has also refused to say whether it paid any expenses for stopovers offered on the way home in either Paris or Singapore to the 20-strong study group).
DHHS has previously told Tasmanian Times that Dame Catherine was not paid when in the state. In response to subsequent questions from Liberal Health spokesman Brett Whiteley, in Parliament on October 29th, Health Minister Lara Giddings confirmed that Dame Catherine did not charge consultancy fees in Tasmania.
Ms Giddings said that had Dame Catherine charged consultancy fees, they would have exceeded $80,000.