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Grotesque! Fury over Huddersfield health official being handed £12,000 - plus expenses - for just 20 days work

Hands Off HRI campaigners' anger at official being paid £600-a-day to oversee a new travel and transport group

Health bosses have been condemned for hiring a £600-a-day official in a bid to get their hospital shake-up project approved.

With the deadline looming for the final proposals to demolish Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, health chiefs have created a new travel and transport group.

The move comes in response to criticism from campaigners and MPs that the increase in travel times for Kirklees patients to travel to A&E at Calderdale Royal Hospital has not been properly researched.

Greater Huddersfield and Calderdale clinical commissioning groups have now announced that Dr Mike Grady has been appointed as the independent chairman of the group – with a whopping £600-per-day pay packet.

Dr Grady will do just 20 days work for the CCGs over the next five months, earning £12,000 plus expenses in the process.

His pay is higher than that of the chief executives of the CCGs, who earn in the region of £120,000 a year – approximately £10,000 per 20 days of work.

Dr Mike Grady

A spokesperson for the two CCGs said the remuneration was in line with other similar roles and was being funded by their own budgets.

Colne Valley MP, Jason McCartney, whose constituency covers the infirmary, described the pay as “grotesque”.

He said: “If Dr Grady is genuinely independent and would be willing and able to throw out the CGGs’ plans to downgrade A&E at HRI on travel grounds then the cost of his appointment could be justified.

“But if, as I fear, he has been merely hired to rubber stamp these appalling plans then the cost of his appointment is grotesque.”

Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney

Karl Deitch, president of the Hands Off HRI campaign, said: “How can £600 a day plus expenses be justified when they claim that they are making these changes because they are struggling financially?

“The infrastructure/ travel times cannot be changed. How can he say for certain this plan to move emergency care to Calderdale is going to work?

“Is it on his head when it doesn’t?

“That’s £12,000 minimum for 20 days work, wasted on something that cannot just be papered over.

“It’s a total waste of money and they are clutching at straws. It’s time they come clean and say they’ve got this wrong.”

Campaigner Karl Deitch

Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman commented: “There’s no doubt that one of the real weaknesses in the CCGs’ plan for the future of healthcare is the transport side of things. That’s been woefully neglected.

“If this person is the kind of professional we need to bring some senior expertise to the attention of the CCG, then I’m in favour of that, but the high level of remuneration does concern me.

“This is a lot of money and people in the community will not be impressed that it’s not going directly to the NHS.”

Barry-Sheerman(Image: Andy Catchpool)

A spokesperson for the CCGs said Dr Grady had been hired following a nationwide recruitment and selection process.

Dr Grady is a former principal adviser/senior research fellow at the Institute of Health Equity.

He was formerly the chief executive of Eastern Wakefield NHS Primary Care Trust and has also held senior positions at Wakefield Council.

He said: “I look forward to working in partnership with the group and wider communities to better understand the issues involved and develop evidence-based recommendations. This will be a very challenging but ultimately rewarding role.”

Dr Steve Ollerton, GP and Chair of NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG said: “I am delighted that we have been able to appoint such an experienced chair to this role. The travel and transport group has an important role to play in identifying priority areas for consideration and developing recommendations and plans to address any challenges.”

Dr Alan Brook, GP and Chair of NHS Calderdale CCG said: “This new group will advise, inform and provide expert input on transport and access matters relating to our proposed future arrangements for health services.

“I am pleased that this work is now getting underway and I look forward to hearing more from group as they develop their plans.”

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