Healthcare news

Hospitality bill for Belfast health trust almost doubles in year

The 'tea and biscuits' bill for the Belfast Health Trust has almost doubled in the space of a year

HOSPITALITY bills for the Belfast health trust have almost doubled in the space of a year, despite a reduction in the overall amount spent in the health service.

A total of £62,500 was spent in Belfast in the last financial year, up from almost £34,000 in 2014/15.

The South-eastern trust slashed almost £20,000 of its bill, paying £61,000 last year, while the northern and southern trust also made cuts and the western trust saw only a marginal increase in spending to just over £14,000.

It comes as the overall bill for wining and dining across the Department of Health and its arms length bodies fell from £391,000 to £345,000 in the same period.

The Health and Social Care Board, which is to be abolished, spent £69,000 of taxpayers' money on hospitality in the year to March 2016.

The figures were released in response to a written assembly question from Ulster Unionist Upper Bann MLA Jo-Anne Dobson, who welcomed the reduction but said she remained concerned by the level of spending.

"I will be questioning the health minister further on this issue, especially on reasons behind two health trusts spending over £60,000 each on hospitality when others are spending considerably less," she said.

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