Cost of IT expert to hospital is revealed

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A DEBT-ridden Yorkshire hospital that plans to cut 750 jobs is shelling out £25,000 a month, plus expenses, on an American IT expert.

Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust spent around £40m on a computer system that has never worked – and is trying to slash £50m a year from its budget.

In a bid to repair the failing computer system, administrators are paying out £25,000 a month plus hotel bills and air flights for US expert Larry Blevins, who has even advised the White House on its technology.

But staff at the crisis-hit hospital trust are furious taxpayers are even picking up the bill for airline tickets, laundry and restaurant bills.

Flight tickets cost £4,000 when Mr Blevins flew in from the USA for a three-month initial period.

His basic expenses over a six-week period at Sheffield’s Hilton Hotel came to £2,300 for accommodation, including laundry, taxis to work, meals and non-alcoholic beverages.

His contract has now been extended and he remains as project manager for the struggling IT system.

Hospital chiefs have told staff that the Electronic Patient Record System is being retained despite ongoing problems.

The failing IT system caused chaos when it ‘lost’ 5,000 outpatient appointments in a black hole which cost the hospital £1.6m 
and had patients turning up at 
the wrong times for appointments.

A trust spokesman confirmed that Mr Blevins, described as an “EPR expert”, had amassed “basic expenses”.

They added: “The laundry expense was included within the hotel deal package and £4,000 of the monies was allocated as his fare from the United States as part of his contract.”

Last October the hospital told staff that more than 750 jobs would go and wards would close in a bid to save cash.