Consultants paid €131,000 for review


The Department of Health has defended its decision to pay a consultancy firm €131,000 plus VAT for six weeks of work.

Minister for Health James Reilly hired the PA Consulting Group to carry out a review of expenditure and financial controls within the health service.

The six consultants involved in the review, which is expected to be completed in six weeks time, will each earn nearly €22,000.

The consultancy team will be led by Mark Ogden, a financial director with Britain’s National Health Service (NHS).

Mr Ogden already carried out a four-week review in June for department on how the HSE manages its annual budget for which he was paid €12,000 plus VAT.

Details of the contract, which emerged in the Medical Independent, came as the department sought to deflect a storm of criticism over the announcement of €130 million in health cuts, which included a reduction of personal assistant hours provided to those with disabilities.

In a statement this evening, the department said PA Consultants were “undertaking an enormous amount of work, regarded as critical to the future of the health service.”

“PA have been engaged to undertake a wide-ranging review of financial management and cost containment systems in the health service,” the statement said.

“This review includes an assessment of the Ogden report and the preparation of an action plan for the implementation of its recommendations.”

“However, that is only one aspect of the review which will also include an analysis of existing cost containment plans, an assessment of various options for achieving cash savings both in 2012 and in the medium term, and recommendations for strengthening the financial management infrastructure within the Irish health service,” it continued.