Jersey brand

Over £500,000 donated to ‘NHS payout queen’s’

More than half a million pounds have been paid out over the past five years to a consultancy firm run by a woman once dubbed the ‘NHS payment queen’, it has emerged.

A Freedom of Information response shows that £506,192 of taxpayers’ money was spent on fees for Improving Performance Consultancy, which is run by Kim Hodgson, as well as an additional £10,803 for flights, £2,100 for hotel stays and £863 for other expenses.

Ms Hodgson came under fire in 2016 when it emerged she was being paid £1,000 a day to act as acting head of Southport and Formby District General Hospital, receiving a total of £95,000 for 2 months and a half of work.

She was dubbed the ‘Queen of NHS payments’ at the time by the local branch of the Liberal Democrats.

St John Constable Andy Jehan submitted a question from the States on this, saying the company was believed to have stopped providing services to the Jersey government in 2020.

He said: ‘It’s on my radar. I submitted a written question about this company, which was supposed to have stopped providing services to us about two years ago,” he said.

‘They participated in the appointment of the clinical director of the Our Hospital project [Ashok Handa].’ Mr Jehan said he had also submitted questions about the work of Mr Handa and Our Hospital Project Director Richard Bannister because he was concerned about the amount of work they were doing.

Constable added: ‘I don’t have a problem with the rate of pay they get, it’s the time we pay them for.

“If you’re a consultant, you shouldn’t have to do so much work.

“You should give advice to people and let the lower paid people continue the work.

“It looks like these consultants are doing a lot of the work that local people could be doing instead.”

Last year it was revealed that government spending on consultants and temporary staff soared to £37million in the second half of 2020, having been £28million in the previous six months.

FOI’s response states that the improvement in advisory performance was no longer “committed at the end of March 2022”.

An earlier FOI, published last year, about the consultancy says its work streams included the France Covid-19 response, the accompanying policy, Jersey’s compensation strategy and a response to a cannabis petition. .

Another, published in 2019, says Ms Hodgson was recruited by the Department of Health through an “out of contract call” with a recruitment agency.

It adds: ‘Ms Hodgson was subsequently hired by Department of Health and Human Services (now HCS) staff who no longer work for the organization and documentation relating to the hiring process could not be retrieved. .

“Since 2018, Ms. Hodgson has carried out a number of different assignments including policy development and associated documentation, task planning for medical staff, coaching and mentoring for senior clinical staff, technical assessments and an independent panel member on senior appointments. Previous arrangements for the engagement of the consultant are currently being reviewed; and many of the previous areas of support will no longer be needed in the future.

To date, Ms Hodgson has been paid over £318,000 for her services by the island.