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The Department of Health spent €635,206 on “consultancy service providers” in 2018.
The figures were released in response to a parliamentary question from Deputy Mattie McGrath.
Included in the figures was a total payment of €230,000 to the RCPI and ICGP for “development of clinical guidelines for termination of pregnancy”. The next-highest expenditure was €87,484, which was paid to University College Cork for “research to inform guidance in relation to the Patient Safety Bill”.
This was followed by €72,000 paid to disability policy specialist Ms Eithne Fitzgerald for “policy analysis expertise and advisory services on a range of disability-related issues”.
The other listed payments were €73,346 to Mazars to “support GDPR compliance in the Department”; €71,955 to Ernest and Young for an “independent expert review of delayed discharges 2018”; €71,094 to Morrow Gilchrist and Associates for a review of mental health strategy A Vision for Change; €34,526 to Q4PR “in relation to the launch of the Sláintecare Reform Programme”; €24,850 to the Centre for Effective Services for “national patient safety office training programme”; €17,909 to Grant Thornton for “development of a strategic plan for national healthy cities and counties network”; €16,043 to Mazars for “investigation of a protected disclosure”; and €9,908 to Mazars for “independent re-evaluation of the shared NI/RoI congenital heart disease network”.
In his response to Deputy McGrath, Minister for Health Simon Harris said it is Department policy “only to engage the services of external consultants where highly specialised skills are not available within the Department and when such an approach is felt to be more appropriate and cost-effective”.