Herald Opinion: DGH... excellent front-line staff but money questions still to be answered

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HERE at the Herald we have been making a concerted effort to highlight the fine work being done by the hard-working staff at our local hospital.

Each week one of our reporters visits a different department at the DGH and sees first hand how much expertise goes into making sure patients are well treated and keeping the whole operation running smoothly. This week it is the resuscitation team (watch out for our feature appearing on this website later this week).

However, we will continue to make a distinction between the excellent front-line staff and some of those at the top of East Sussex Healthcare Trust – the people who hold the purse strings on a million pound a day budget and have around £30million in savings to make over the coming months.

We have already revealed the engagement of expensive consultants, showing that the trust’s management spent more than £4million on outside advice in less than a year.

Now we find that as well as paying financial consultants from Ernst & Young upwards of £2million to identify savings (presumably of more than £2million) the trust has signed off £159,000 in on-the-job expenses. Expenses which, if you believe anecdotal evidence from local cabbies, went as far as an instrance of ferrying consultants to Brighton for lunch because they favoured the eating places there.

Whether this is true or not – and the trust would neither confirm nor deny the rumour – £159,000 on accommodation, food and travel stills seems excessive. We will surely not be alone in wondering why those costs have to be met by the trust at all. Having just shelled out £2million plus, why on earth did the trust’s management agree to pay for things which almost everyone else in the working world has to fund themselves?

Campaigner Liz Walke has called it a disgrace. She says that cash would be better spent on better equipment or more staff.

And, while we are only too happy to highlight all the good that goes on at the DGH, we are inclined to agree with her.

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IN AN earlier editorial the Herald spoke of how proud Eastbourne should be of its young people. And this week has shown us even more reasons why we were right.

Rain-soaked scouts stood all round the half-marathon course handing out sweets and cheering on runners.

And this weekend Young Eloise Mitchell and her brother Joseph Sime will walk 14 miles in memory of their dad, who sadly died. The kids really are alright.