Government splashes cash on consultants rather than cancer

The Government has no extra funding for cancer treatment but has splashed $4.3 million on consultancy fees for its ill-conceived health system restructuring plan, says National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti.

“Cabinet documents released in March this year said that health restructuring was the Government’s top health funding priority, and ministerial answers confirm Andrew Little is pouring taxpayers’ money into Labour’s restructuring project.

“Minister Little has confirmed that $4 million has been spent to date on 21 Ernst & Young consultants working on plans for the restructure.

“On average, that means each EY consultant has billed taxpayers more than $200,000 so far.

“The $4.3 million spent on consultants would more than cover the costs that my private member’s bill seeks to improve cancer treatment.

“Andrew Little needs to explain to cancer patients why his Government’s fantasy plan of health system restructuring is more important than their urgent cancer treatment.

“In the current Covid outbreak, $4.3 million would go a long way toward recruiting more ICU nurses and the construction of more negative pressure rooms over the squandered five months since Delta first arrived in New Zealand in April.

“I challenge Andrew Little to show how one single health outcome has been improved by spending this $4.3 million. Or will he just shout at me as he did in select committee, and when he called the Cancer Society ‘off the planet’?

“Show us the health outcomes, Minister.”

Answers to Parliamentary Written Questions are below:

Reply 39564 (2021) has been answered to Dr Shane Reti 15 Sept 2021
Portfolio: Health (Hon Andrew Little)
Question: Has Ernst Young been paid as consultants to the health system restructuring Transition Unit and if so, how much have they been paid ?
Reply: I am advised that from August 2020 to July 2021, the total spend against the Ernst & Young contract with the Health and Disability Review Transition Unit is NZ$4,327,087.72

Reply 39463 (2021) has been answered to Dr Shane Reti 15 Sept 2021
Portfolio: Health (Hon Andrew Little)
Question: What is the headcount, if any, for people in the health transition unit who are contractors to Ernst Young, listed by head count per month since the transition unit was formed ?
Reply: I am advised that as at 1 September 2021, there are 21 (16.1 FTE) Ernst & Young contractors, including the Director, Stephen McKernan working for Health and Disability Transition Unit.