Health chiefs £4,000 hotel stay

First published in News
Last updated

HEALTH bosses and GPs stayed overnight at a four-star hotel — at a cost of more than £4,000 — to discuss how to save £18 million.

The 24-hour event, spread over two days, at the Marriott Hotel, in Worsley, cost Bolton’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) £4,060 — £145 per attendee.

Su Long, Bolton CCG’s designate chief officer has defended the event and said after looking at alternatives, the hotel was “the best value offer”.

But she added the CCG, which is a new body set up to replace the Primary Care Trust, would be reviewing it to make sure it was the “best use of resources”.

Ms Long said it would have taken the staff “two months of normal meetings to get through the amount of work” they completed at the hotel, as it allowed them to work “rapidly and intensively”.

The 28 health chiefs and GPs spent the time discussing how to find their target savings amount of £18 million and creating a “strategic development plan” for the next financial year.

But the decision to hold the event at the Worsley Hotel has been criticised.

The hotel, which has a pool, spa and fitness studio, charges about £100 per night.

A member of the public, who asked not to be named, said the event included two buffet lunches and dinner and added: “Is this good use of public money, when most of them live with in easy travelling distance and NHS staff are being made redundant? “Could they not have used somewhere less expensive or free to have a team-building day?”

Cllr Andy Morgan, who sits on the Health, Overview and Scrutiny Committee, said he understood the need to have a strategic development event but questioned the decision to hold it at a Worsley hotel, which is just over eight miles from Bolton.

He added: “If they are going to spend that money they should be spending it it in Bolton.

“I wouldn’t question that they need to come up with strategic development, they need to get their heads around everything and they have got an important job to do.

“But if they have to spend that money, they should be spending it supporting the local economy.”

Members of the CCG’s board and leadership team, and 17 GPs, who are clinical leads, gathered at the four-star hotel at 1pm on Thursday, January 31, and left at 1.30pm the next day.

They worked until their evening meal, which was included in the package, socialised during the evening, stayed over and continued to work the next day.

Drinks and other refreshments were paid for by individuals, and some people chose not to stay overnight.

Ms Long said: “We take very seriously someone who is concerned we would waste tax payers money, we really consider what we spend our money on.

“I have felt on reflection it has been a really good use of time and resources, but obviously we always need to look at it and reflect whether it has been a good use of money and whether we should do it again.”

She said the CCG had chosen a hotel in order to get people away from the distractions of work and it was something they had learned from other organisations.

GPs were able to complete their morning surgery before travelling to the Worsley hotel and in the evening, they were able to “reflect” on the day’s discussions before being “really motivated” the next day.

Ms Long added: “We are a new team and organisation and it is the sort of day that we think is useful for planning the start of the year.”

The CCG discussed how to make efficiencies of £18 million.

It needs to save £12 million but is aiming for an additional £6 million for future years.

Ms Long said because of government cuts to CCGs, they were being forced to “spend more to do the same level of care” and needed to find savings so they could continue to provide new services.

Jane Bradford, a Harwood GP and the CCG’s clinical lead for prescribing, said: “I found the sessions were valuable in working out our goals this year.

“As a clinical lead, I felt really pleased to be given the opportunity to work with the board in such a proactive way, and am sure the other clinical leads felt the same.

“It was also great to be able to chat to colleagues more informally, and I am sure this will help with us work together as a group more cohesively in the next few months and beyond.”

Comments (24)

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9:23am Fri 22 Feb 13

MarkAllRead says...

It's always the poor people that don't understand why this makes sense.
It's always the poor people that don't understand why this makes sense. MarkAllRead
  • Score: 0

9:29am Fri 22 Feb 13

BWFC71 says...

Why stay at a 4* hotel?

Even places like Travel Inn's and Travel Lodges have good, decent meetin facilities that can cater between 50 and 200 people.

this is just an expense too far for a bankrupt NHS Trust!
Why stay at a 4* hotel? Even places like Travel Inn's and Travel Lodges have good, decent meetin facilities that can cater between 50 and 200 people. this is just an expense too far for a bankrupt NHS Trust! BWFC71
  • Score: 15

9:48am Fri 22 Feb 13

boltonchap says...

what do GP's know about strategic planning.. Can they enlighten us please?
what do GP's know about strategic planning.. Can they enlighten us please? boltonchap
  • Score: 9

9:57am Fri 22 Feb 13

oftbewildered2 says...

sounds a lot at first - but £145 pp over two days is not exhorbitant. Just the BN wishing to sensationalise it. They have got to meet and get together at once. I know from my own working life how difficult this is to achieve and how prolonged decision making can be if you have a few meetings here and a few meetings there.
sounds a lot at first - but £145 pp over two days is not exhorbitant. Just the BN wishing to sensationalise it. They have got to meet and get together at once. I know from my own working life how difficult this is to achieve and how prolonged decision making can be if you have a few meetings here and a few meetings there. oftbewildered2
  • Score: -6

10:11am Fri 22 Feb 13

KeepPosting ! says...

The "mortals" have to travel every day to attend work and business meetings many miles as part of their job. So why couldn't these people do the same ?
No doubt more follow up meetings will be required, bring your cozzy !
The "mortals" have to travel every day to attend work and business meetings many miles as part of their job. So why couldn't these people do the same ? No doubt more follow up meetings will be required, bring your cozzy ! KeepPosting !
  • Score: 8

10:13am Fri 22 Feb 13

steveG says...

The NHS,going back 20 years, had their own in house training and meeting facilities which were sold off,I would imagine the cost would have been less in those days.
Councils used to use their own facilities for meetings/training etc but now choose to book Hotels for training and meetings though not sure why.
The NHS,going back 20 years, had their own in house training and meeting facilities which were sold off,I would imagine the cost would have been less in those days. Councils used to use their own facilities for meetings/training etc but now choose to book Hotels for training and meetings though not sure why. steveG
  • Score: 8

10:19am Fri 22 Feb 13

BWFC71 says...

oftbewildered2 wrote:
sounds a lot at first - but £145 pp over two days is not exhorbitant. Just the BN wishing to sensationalise it. They have got to meet and get together at once. I know from my own working life how difficult this is to achieve and how prolonged decision making can be if you have a few meetings here and a few meetings there.
True but why a 4* hotel - as I have mentioned iot can be done cheaper, and I have organised meetings and conferences in places like Travel Inn's and Travel Lodges and they can do this sort of thing cheaper than the "countryside-orienta
ted@ Marriot at Worsley where one pays for location rather than substance.
[quote][p][bold]oftbewildered2[/bold] wrote: sounds a lot at first - but £145 pp over two days is not exhorbitant. Just the BN wishing to sensationalise it. They have got to meet and get together at once. I know from my own working life how difficult this is to achieve and how prolonged decision making can be if you have a few meetings here and a few meetings there.[/p][/quote]True but why a 4* hotel - as I have mentioned iot can be done cheaper, and I have organised meetings and conferences in places like Travel Inn's and Travel Lodges and they can do this sort of thing cheaper than the "countryside-orienta ted@ Marriot at Worsley where one pays for location rather than substance. BWFC71
  • Score: 8

10:42am Fri 22 Feb 13

Rememberscarborough says...

How long would it have taken to drive from Worsley to Bolton hospital in rush hour? Surely using quality hotels in Bolton would have been far more cost effective? I've stayed in Marriott Hotels and they are wonderful but this is going over the top for a meeting that is meant to be discussing savings. Quite clearly management at Bolton Hospital still have no idea about how serious the financial problems are so maybe putting it in to administration is the kick they all need
How long would it have taken to drive from Worsley to Bolton hospital in rush hour? Surely using quality hotels in Bolton would have been far more cost effective? I've stayed in Marriott Hotels and they are wonderful but this is going over the top for a meeting that is meant to be discussing savings. Quite clearly management at Bolton Hospital still have no idea about how serious the financial problems are so maybe putting it in to administration is the kick they all need Rememberscarborough
  • Score: 7

12:17pm Fri 22 Feb 13

exiled says...

Are there not any meeting rooms at RBH?

Failing that, the Brooklyn has a reasonable sized room within walking distance of the hospital, as well as the golf club and other places!
Are there not any meeting rooms at RBH? Failing that, the Brooklyn has a reasonable sized room within walking distance of the hospital, as well as the golf club and other places! exiled
  • Score: 8

12:17pm Fri 22 Feb 13

exiled says...

Are there not any meeting rooms at RBH?

Failing that, the Brooklyn has a reasonable sized room within walking distance of the hospital, as well as the golf club and other places!
Are there not any meeting rooms at RBH? Failing that, the Brooklyn has a reasonable sized room within walking distance of the hospital, as well as the golf club and other places! exiled
  • Score: 3

12:36pm Fri 22 Feb 13

Harold 1 says...

Well said boltonchap .Doctor Bradford should be in surgery seeing patients instead of playing games with the taxpayers money.It seems like doctors these days can't be bothered with work
Well said boltonchap .Doctor Bradford should be in surgery seeing patients instead of playing games with the taxpayers money.It seems like doctors these days can't be bothered with work Harold 1
  • Score: 19

12:50pm Fri 22 Feb 13

colournature says...

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

lloyds bank did the same they put them in the hilton to discuss something -

dont they have meeting and board rooms at the hospital ?
ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha lloyds bank did the same they put them in the hilton to discuss something - dont they have meeting and board rooms at the hospital ? colournature
  • Score: 4

1:00pm Fri 22 Feb 13

hoboh2o says...

Blimey, given the missing £3 million out of the hospital accounts, how many pasties did Cliff Morris eat while on the board?
Blimey, given the missing £3 million out of the hospital accounts, how many pasties did Cliff Morris eat while on the board? hoboh2o
  • Score: 6

1:47pm Fri 22 Feb 13

mdalziel says...

Agree with some of the sentiments expressed, but need to point out that CCG board and management and GPs are not RBH
Agree with some of the sentiments expressed, but need to point out that CCG board and management and GPs are not RBH mdalziel
  • Score: 4

1:54pm Fri 22 Feb 13

boltonnut says...

They call these meetings off site (away from the work place).They're called bonding, brainstorming,think tanks,motivation sessions,etc.The agenda usually is 9am breakfast.10.30am introductions,11am coffee break.11.30 guest speaker.12.30pm lunch.2.00pm brainstorming session.3.00pm coffee break.3.30pm group discusions.4.30pm personal rest time,(retire to hotel room for much needed rest.6.00pm pre dinner cocktails(free of course).7.30pm dinner.10.30 pm retire to hotel bar for bonding sessions(again free drinks)12.30am time for bed but not too tired to hit on that co worker you've had your eye on for a while.Second day same as the first.What a way to earn a living.Yawn........?
Yes, I'vebeen there.
They call these meetings off site (away from the work place).They're called bonding, brainstorming,think tanks,motivation sessions,etc.The agenda usually is 9am breakfast.10.30am introductions,11am coffee break.11.30 guest speaker.12.30pm lunch.2.00pm brainstorming session.3.00pm coffee break.3.30pm group discusions.4.30pm personal rest time,(retire to hotel room for much needed rest.6.00pm pre dinner cocktails(free of course).7.30pm dinner.10.30 pm retire to hotel bar for bonding sessions(again free drinks)12.30am time for bed but not too tired to hit on that co worker you've had your eye on for a while.Second day same as the first.What a way to earn a living.Yawn........? Yes, I'vebeen there. boltonnut
  • Score: 6

2:09pm Fri 22 Feb 13

boltonchap says...

talking of the missing £3 million, when are we going to be informed about what happened to it? after all it is our money
talking of the missing £3 million, when are we going to be informed about what happened to it? after all it is our money boltonchap
  • Score: 7

4:00pm Fri 22 Feb 13

Boltonresident2012 says...

Does anyone know why we are paying for the GP's costs?

As far as I am aware, they run their own independent budgets and can presumably offset the costs off against tax?

Some years back money was allocated to give a basic butty lunch to a social service team - this was cancelled because of possible press reaction....
Does anyone know why we are paying for the GP's costs? As far as I am aware, they run their own independent budgets and can presumably offset the costs off against tax? Some years back money was allocated to give a basic butty lunch to a social service team - this was cancelled because of possible press reaction.... Boltonresident2012
  • Score: 2

4:06pm Fri 22 Feb 13

Count de Monet says...

mdalziel wrote:
Agree with some of the sentiments expressed, but need to point out that CCG board and management and GPs are not RBH
Well said mdalziel. Bolton Clinical Commisioning Group is replacing the old Bolton Primary Care Trust & is not responsible for the Royal Bolton Hospital.
The RBH NHS Foundation Trust is responsible for the huge budget deficit.
[quote][p][bold]mdalziel[/bold] wrote: Agree with some of the sentiments expressed, but need to point out that CCG board and management and GPs are not RBH[/p][/quote]Well said mdalziel. Bolton Clinical Commisioning Group is replacing the old Bolton Primary Care Trust & is not responsible for the Royal Bolton Hospital. The RBH NHS Foundation Trust is responsible for the huge budget deficit. Count de Monet
  • Score: 0

8:32pm Fri 22 Feb 13

hatonfire says...

This is perhaps the most irresponsible piece of journalism I have ever seen.

It is clearly set out to provoke a (negative) re-action and not to report any decisions made.

No mention made as to how far the doctors and others had to travel, no report about which departments were represented.

I think that for a gathering of such professional people £140 per head inc. dinner is very good value.
This is perhaps the most irresponsible piece of journalism I have ever seen. It is clearly set out to provoke a (negative) re-action and not to report any decisions made. No mention made as to how far the doctors and others had to travel, no report about which departments were represented. I think that for a gathering of such professional people £140 per head inc. dinner is very good value. hatonfire
  • Score: -6

8:50pm Fri 22 Feb 13

hatonfire says...

BN quote :- '
They worked until their evening meal, which was included in the package, socialised during the evening, stayed over and continued to work the next day'.

* * * *

What a pathetic, childish piece of reporting.
How does the unnamed reporter know they 'Socialised' and if they did, is this some how to be condemned.

Very shoddy work by the BN but no doubt there will be other such negative headline grabbing non-stories to come.
BN quote :- ' They worked until their evening meal, which was included in the package, socialised during the evening, stayed over and continued to work the next day'. * * * * What a pathetic, childish piece of reporting. How does the unnamed reporter know they 'Socialised' and if they did, is this some how to be condemned. Very shoddy work by the BN but no doubt there will be other such negative headline grabbing non-stories to come. hatonfire
  • Score: -4

10:01pm Fri 22 Feb 13

aardwolf says...

£145?? Sounds like a bargain. Grow up BN.
£145?? Sounds like a bargain. Grow up BN. aardwolf
  • Score: -2

3:36pm Sat 23 Feb 13

127001 says...

Sounds like a load of **** to me.

There are meeting rooms at the hospital.

Also, there's this thing called information communications technology (it's been around for the past 40 years or so which they could quite easily communicate over and collaborate their ideas....
Sounds like a load of **** to me. There are meeting rooms at the hospital. Also, there's this thing called information communications technology (it's been around for the past 40 years or so which they could quite easily communicate over and collaborate their ideas.... 127001
  • Score: 2

12:48pm Thu 28 Feb 13

cascadia says...

i cannot see how any one can justify spending£145 per head on a meeting which with a bit of homework could have been done for less.Its not really about what was achieved at the meeting,and some good work may have come out of it.However with peoples jobs on the line i think it was a bit insensitive to book into a 4 star hotel to brain storm,it could have been done better,under the circumstances.Bad move on behalf of the people who decided the location.
i cannot see how any one can justify spending£145 per head on a meeting which with a bit of homework could have been done for less.Its not really about what was achieved at the meeting,and some good work may have come out of it.However with peoples jobs on the line i think it was a bit insensitive to book into a 4 star hotel to brain storm,it could have been done better,under the circumstances.Bad move on behalf of the people who decided the location. cascadia
  • Score: 0

12:55pm Thu 28 Feb 13

cascadia says...

i dont think it was a good idea,it maybe good to find an offsite location to brain storm,but a five star hotel @£145 a night,it could have been done closer to home and cheaper.Spending this amount of money at a time of auterity and belt tighting ,was an applauling error of judgement.Shame on you!
i dont think it was a good idea,it maybe good to find an offsite location to brain storm,but a five star hotel @£145 a night,it could have been done closer to home and cheaper.Spending this amount of money at a time of auterity and belt tighting ,was an applauling error of judgement.Shame on you! cascadia
  • Score: 0

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