'Failing' NHS trust ‘slapped taxpayers in face’ by spending £58,000 on sending 14 staff to Las Vegas

Las Vegas strip with an inset of an NHS sign

NHS workers were sent to Las Vegas on a work trip

PA
Dimitris Kouimtsidis

By Dimitris Kouimtsidis


Published: 09/01/2024

- 11:28

Updated: 09/01/2024

- 11:39

The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS is rated as 'requires improvement' by the care regulator

A failing NHS trust has been accused of "slapping taxpayers in the face" after it blew £58,000 sending 14 members of staff on a trip to Las Vegas.

The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS trust is rated as "requires improvement" overall by the care regulator and ended last year with a deficit of £13million.


It also received the same rating on the safety and quality of its leadership team section.

It comes as the latest NHS data shows that 47 per cent of the Trust's patients on its waiting lists have been waiting longer than the target 18 weeks for routine treatments.

NHS sign

The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS trust is rated as 'requires improvement'

PA

Similarly, 50 per cent of A&E attendees wait more than four hours to be treated, admitted or discharged.

It has now been slammed by critics for sending 14 staff members on a technology conference to Las Vegas in September.

The purpose of the trip was to watch demonstrations of a new patient record system which the Trust is considering adopting.

They stayed at the New York New York hotel, right in the middle of the Vegas strip.

Las Vegas strip

The staff stayed at the New York New York hotel on the Las Vegas strip

PA

The famous hotel tries to replicate the 'City that never sleeps', including a replica of the Statue of Liberty as well as having its own roller coaster.

Critics however referred to the trip as "obscenely expensive" and a "slap in the face for taxpayers".

John O'Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "This extraordinary bill is a slap in the face for taxpayers, as well as patients waiting for treatment.

"We keep hearing that there is no fat left to trim, but when healthcare bosses go on obscenely expensive trips to Sin City, those claims ring somewhat hollow."

Phil Holland, chief information officer at the Trust however defended the trip, stating that the cost of the conference cost £600 per person, with the remainder of the spend covering flights, hotel and food.

In addition, those on the trip were not allowed to claim expenses for entertainment or gambling.

He added that the funding for the trip came from the budget assigned to the new IT system and not from "frontline staffing, operational or healthcare budgets".

He said: "‘A multi-disciplinary team of 14 people attended to enable us to capture insights from over 400 sessions that were taking place.

"This annual conference was the only opportunity to access all parts of the system, its developers and future developments under one roof."

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