HEALTH bosses in York have spent nearly £15,000 in the past couple of years on overseas visits.

Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has paid for members of staff to go on ten work related visits to Kansas, Alaska and Seattle in the USA and to Sweden.

The most expensive of the visits, which cost £5585 was for former chief accountable officer, Dr Mark Hayes to go to Alaska and Seattle, where he attended a seminar at the Virginia Mason Institute costing £2931.

The CCG said the visits, which were disclosed following a Freedom of Information request, were to enable staff to transform care by seeing “innovative health and care systems” in other parts of the world.

A spokesperson for Vale of York CCG said: “Learning from international approaches has shaped many successful initiatives to transform care for patients across the Vale of York, such as Integrated Care Teams (ICT) which have been highly praised for their innovative approach...

“The CCG has also been awarded Integrated Care Pioneer status for its collaboration work with partners to embrace innovation and deliver high quality care through a seamless health and social care system. An important part of this work is learning from partner organisations in other parts of the world”.

Other trips included, the innovation and improvement manager going to a health summit in Kansas to look at new models of care and IT systems, on a trip costing £2146, and eight members of staff going to Sweden to attend a Microsystems Conference, costing about £7000 in total.

Dr Mark Hayes’ trip to Alaska and Seattle came as York’s GPs made a statement of no confidence in the CCG due to financial concerns last September. Since then, the CCG has been placed in special measures by NHS England, as it faces an end of year debt of almost £22million.

Dr Hayes went on the visit with Patrick Crowley, chief executive of York Hospital trust. The Press asked the hospital trust for information about oversees trips made by its staff but it declined to answer on the grounds it would take too long to source.