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Happy days: Harris’s department spreads the wealth, spends €4million on external consultant reports

Four million euros. That’s a lot of money to spend on advice, isn’t it? You’d think with four million euros worth of expert advice, the health service would be humming along nicely, but apparently not even that amount of consultant assistance can help the hapless Minister get it right. Anyway, the good news is that all your friends in the consulting business have been doing very well under Fine Gael’s stewardship of the Department of Health.

€230,000 paid to the Royal College of Surgeons for advice on abortion guidelines is a nice earner for starters, especially since there are lots of helpful guides online about how to carry out the procedure. I recommend reading them, if you haven’t before. They’re enlightening, I just wouldn’t read them on a full stomach.

If you think we’re nit-picking there just because we’re dreadful pro-lifers here at Gript, it’s worth nothing that you can actually employ a consultant in maternal medicine for a whole year for €179,000, according to the HSE’s salary scale. Wouldn’t it have been more cost-effective just to hire one of those tremendously enthusiastic young doctors from last year’s referendum?

That’s actually more, though, than the Department spent on its expert report into Sláintecare, which, as you will all know, is the next big thing in health, destined to deliver us to a land of milk and honey where our health service is the envy of the world. Just €221,000 was handed over to McKinsey and Co for their views on that one. Mind you, that is more than Matheson Ormsby and Prentice got for their legal research and advice into the establishment of Universal Health Insurance, which was the last great big idea in health before Sláintecare came along.

KPMG did relatively poorly by comparison, getting a paltry €14,000 for a consultation process on how the HSE could improve its performance management. Perhaps some more should have been spent on that one.

Some €24,000 was spent with a company called The Performance Partnership on a report into Department of Health approaches to coaching and mentoring.  Indecon Consultants did much better than that, winning a €143,000 contract to analyse measures to encourage the provision of primary care facilities (which, one would have thought, was a job for politicians). Deloitte got €61,000 for a review of the nursing home supports scheme.

The full list of reports, and how much you paid for them, is in the link if you click on the first three words of this article. Credit to Fianna Fáil’s Shane Cassells for asking the question.

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