Hotel meeting costs health service £295

Hawkwell House

Hawkwell House

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Health reporter, also covering Kidlington. Call me on 01865 425271

CASH-STRAPPED health bosses have been criticised for spending almost £300 on a hotel meeting less than two miles from their offices.

Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) managers will this morning hold a strategy development meeting at the three-star Hawkwell House Hotel in Iffley Village.

It will take place just 1.7 miles from its Oxford Business Park South offices, at a cost of £295.

Bosses said the meeting was being held at too short notice to use its own offices, which include a large meeting room used for board meetings.

But the news comes as the group responsible for deciding where most NHS cash goes, warns it is facing a multi-million pound overspend this year.

TaxPayers’ Alliance campaign director Robert Oxley said: “NHS meetings and away days should make use of existing resources rather than costly hotels just down the road. Every penny spent on conference facilities means less money for patient care and a bigger bill for taxpayers.”

An OCCG spokesman said the meeting, with about 15 people in attendance, would be held to discuss its plan for 2014 to 2019, which has to be submitted to NHS England by February 14.

He said: “The meeting had to be arranged at short notice, which is why it is offsite. The preference is always to arrange meetings onsite whenever possible.

But he added: “It is not uncommon to hold meetings offsite if we do not have space available.”

At the OCCG board meeting on Thursday, members referred to the meeting as an “away day”. But the spokesman said: “It is a three-hour meeting rather than an away day. It will cost £295, which includes costs for equipment, tea and coffee.”

Interim chief executive Ian Wilson last week said OCCG’s hoped surplus of £2.4m is set to be a £5.9m deficit at the end of the financial year.

Last week, he said a beds shortage may mean OAPs won’t be able to transfer from main hospitals to the community hospital of their choice.

He said: “The whole health and social care system of Oxfordshire is in some difficulty.”

Comments (6)

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9:21am Tue 4 Feb 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Rolls eyes...

I can just imagine that the Jubilee House meeting room will be being used for something banal by folder-huggers who are insisting that they *always* use the room at that time...

Whilst some fed-up secretary is having the miserable task of pinning down 15 people with patient responsibilities to be at the same meeting at the same time...

I would have given up and gone for the £295 option too.
Rolls eyes... I can just imagine that the Jubilee House meeting room will be being used for something banal by folder-huggers who are insisting that they *always* use the room at that time... Whilst some fed-up secretary is having the miserable task of pinning down 15 people with patient responsibilities to be at the same meeting at the same time... I would have given up and gone for the £295 option too. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 4

11:30am Tue 4 Feb 14

Quentin Walker says...

They knew the report had to be submitted by 14 Feb. They should have held the meeting much earlier than now. Poor management.
They knew the report had to be submitted by 14 Feb. They should have held the meeting much earlier than now. Poor management. Quentin Walker
  • Score: 3

12:23pm Tue 4 Feb 14

King Joke says...

What a storm in a teacup. It's the same in any organisation, meeting rooms are at a premium and if they're booked up, what are you supposed to do, meet in the car park?
What a storm in a teacup. It's the same in any organisation, meeting rooms are at a premium and if they're booked up, what are you supposed to do, meet in the car park? King Joke
  • Score: 2

1:38pm Tue 4 Feb 14

mytaxes says...

Must be a quiet period for news. The city council wastes more than that every day.
Must be a quiet period for news. The city council wastes more than that every day. mytaxes
  • Score: 2

6:58pm Tue 4 Feb 14

Severian says...

This is a complete non story. This is how business is conducted - if you need to hold a meeting, you hold it. And in the NHS budget £295 is a drop in the ocean - they spent more than that on giving me a knee brace the other day.

If this is the biggest worry the taxpayers' alliance has got then the world must be a very happy place.
This is a complete non story. This is how business is conducted - if you need to hold a meeting, you hold it. And in the NHS budget £295 is a drop in the ocean - they spent more than that on giving me a knee brace the other day. If this is the biggest worry the taxpayers' alliance has got then the world must be a very happy place. Severian
  • Score: 1

8:37am Wed 5 Feb 14

snert says...

Why is this in the news? £295 is peanuts for a room. This happens all the time. Compare the cost of organising a meeting with 15 top people, plus food in house only to find you have to rearrange for some reason. The cost will be so much higher. £295 well spent.
Why is this in the news? £295 is peanuts for a room. This happens all the time. Compare the cost of organising a meeting with 15 top people, plus food in house only to find you have to rearrange for some reason. The cost will be so much higher. £295 well spent. snert
  • Score: 1

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