A major cost-cutting Southern Health Trust scheme, which has proposed the closure of local nursing homes such as Roxborough House, has already racked up a staggering £1.2million bill.
Heralded as the biggest overhaul of the local NHS in decades, the Transforming Your Care (TYC) programme was meant to make services more efficient and effective.
However, the reforms have already cost the local trust an average of £360,000 every year since the policy was first announced by Health Minister Edwin Poots in 2012.
Across Northern Ireland, the bill for taxpayers has reached a whopping £24.4million, but Unions and leading doctors complain that many of the proposed changes have yet to be implemented.
The huge sums have been spent on public consultations, surveys, project management, hiring buildings to host meetings, and the cost of covering for staff attending the meetings.
Among the charges incurred by the Health and Social Care Board were £90,000 paid to the private sector for consultancy and project managers. £89,019 for the work of the two project managers, while McCann PR was paid £8,400.
The total payments made to five expert panel members and chair was £46,753.81. An Omnibus Survey conducted by Ipsos Mori cost £7,800, and £3,000 was spent on venues to host meetings.
Among the main recommendations in the TYC report was that more care should be delivered in the home; changing care packages for people in nursing homes; increased role of the GP; and increased role of pharmacy in medicines management and prevention.
Meanwhile the South Tyrone Hospital Community Forum has voiced concerns that the Southern Health Trust is becoming very selective about what it categorises as a “Transforming Your Care” service.
“They are piloting some small key services enthusiastically, which we have no problem with, yet give almost no support or forward thinking to services like our Minor Injuries Unit that are super performers and deal with tens of thousands of patients each year,” said a spokesperson for the campaign group.