Whistle-blower exposes ‘despicable waste of public funds’ in Sheffield

Mercure Sheffield St Paul's Hotel.
Mercure Sheffield St Paul's Hotel.
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A whistle-blower has spoken out to expose a ‘despicable waste of public funds’ after it was revealed that Government hospital inspectors are staying in one of the most expensive hotels in Sheffield.

The informer, a Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Governor, says that 90 Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors are staying at the Mercure Sheffield St Paul’s Hotel and Spa, in the city centre, this week.

The taxpayer-funded inspectors are in the luxurious four-star digs while they assess hospitals in the city.

The whistle-blower said: “Why can’t they stay in a Travelodge? What is so important about these people that they have to stay in Sheffield’s most expensive hotel?

“When NHS budgets are being slashed, it does seem like a despicable waste of public money for them to be in staying in such glamour.”

A spokesman for the CQC confirmed the inspectors are staying at the Mercure this week. They said that 70 rooms had been booked for the first night and 80 rooms for the following three.

The CQC would not reveal the cost, but the spokesman claimed a 46 per cent discount had been secured with the hotel because it was a block booking.

But the whistle-blower said they found it ‘very difficult’ to believe the CQC would get almost 50 per cent off the cost. They said: “There are plenty of adequate hotels in Sheffield for around £50 a night. And they would have got a block-booking discount with one of those too, I would suspect. I think it’s important the public know how their money is being spent.”

The Mercure website shows rooms priced between £129-£274 per night this week.

A CQC Spokesman said: “The hotel was chosen as it was a cost effective option that met the requirements of our inspection team and the expenditure was is in accordance with our procurement policy for accommodation.

“Our new approach to inspecting hospitals involves much larger teams comprising of CQC inspectors, clinical specialists, hospital managers and trained members of the public, who each have important roles to play in making sure that we... provide an accurate reflection of their quality and what they must improve.”
They added: “We have to consider the hotel’s location, its proximity to the sites where the team will be visiting and whether conferencing facilities are available for the team to discuss their findings in confidence.”