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HSE Masterclass not ‘cost neutral’ at over €30K

The event, held in Dublin’s Convention Centre on 27-28 April last, cost €169,403 to run, while income amounted to €136,518, with all figures inclusive of VAT.

The balance of €32,886 was funded by the HSE’s staff training and development budget.

In recent years the Masterclass has attracted controversy due to the high fees paid to some speakers. However, the HSE would not release individual speaker fees for the 2017 event under Freedom of Information (FoI) law, citing commercial sensitivity.

Costs for the chair and speakers amounted to €21,029, and not all speakers received a fee, according to the Executive’s response under FoI.

Some 840 “senior managers and leaders” in the Irish health system and wider business community attended the annual “strategic leadership development event”. The audience heard from “acclaimed speakers in the area of health services improvement, health innovation and inspiring others to succeed”.

It has previously been reported that tickets cost €695 per person (commercial sector) and €395 per person (charities and State-funded organisations).

Some €136,518 was generated through sponsorship, exhibitors and ticket sales. An event management company, Happenings, sourced sponsorship across “a wide spectrum of markets”. Speakers included Dr Mark Britnell, Chairman and Partner, Global Health Practice, KPMG; Prof Keith Grint, Professor of Public Leadership and Management, Warwick Business School; Prof Adrian Furnham, Professor of Psychology, University College London; and former rugby international Mr Pat Lam. The Masterclass was also addressed by Minister for Health Simon Harris and HSE Director General Mr Tony O’Brien.

Last year, a promise to prospective sponsors of “guaranteed facetime” with a “HSE buyer” at the event was removed from official online material, following queries from the Medical Independent (MI). The text was “put up in error”, according to the Executive.

This year’s Masterclass takes place on 18 April at the Helix, Dublin City University. Attendance is by invitation only.

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