NHS bosses spend £1m sending medics to multi-millionaire Angelina Jolie’s charity in Cambodia despite services cuts in UK hospitals
- Medics travel to Cambodia as part of the Improving Global Health programme
- Around 40 volunteers have taken part in the past decade, costing up to £1million
- The scheme is run by the Thames Valley and Wessex NHS Leadership Academy
- In the same area, several hospitals are affected by severe cuts and money issues
The actress’s Maddox Jolie-Pitt foundation has received around 40 paid NHS volunteers in the past decade, with taxpayers paying at least £15,000 for each six-month placement.
The medics travel to Cambodia as part of the Improving Global Health programme, which is run by the Thames Valley and Wessex NHS Leadership Academy.
However, many hospitals in the area are struggling with cuts and have taken to fund-raising to maintain vital services.
Around 40 volunteers from the NHS have visited Angelina Jolie’s charity in Cambodia, to boost their leadership skills
The costs included in the placements to Cambodia are a monthly allowance between £800 and £1,000 and economy flights from £650 return.
The money is determined by factoring in the cost of living in the country, including accommodation, food, internet access, phone bills and local travel costs.
Any NHS employee can apply to the scheme, along with trainee doctors and nurses.
All money is provided by Health Education England, which is taxpayer funded.
According to an annual report, the funding supports medics working abroad to gain ‘valuable experience and expertise’ that could support the NHS.
Meanwhile, Poole Maternity Hospital, which is in the area of the Thames Valley and Wessex NHS Leadership Academy, is asking for £7,105 in donations for two phototherapy blankets.
Another local hospital, Dorset County Hospital, was forced to close its maternity ward on 16 separate occasions after having to make £7.6 million in cuts.
NHS staff in Cambodia working at Angelina Jolie’s charity under the Improving Global Health scheme that’s cost taxpayers up to £1million
Other struggling nearby hospitals include Reading’s Royal Berkshire Hospital, which had to shut 30 times last year and in Banbury, a team of doctors, midwives and special care baby unit nurses have been replaced by a single midwife and assistant.
Following the news, Conservative MP Peter Bone told the Sun: ‘My concern is that this money if it’s being spent overseas should come from the £13billion foreign aid budget not from health money.’
John O’Connell, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, added: ‘The NHS should be focusing all of its resources on the most essential services before thinking about spending money elsewhere.’
In response to the criticism, Health Education England said: ‘These staff give up their salaries to go and work in resource-poor settings where they provide huge benefit to local healthcare systems.
‘In exchange they bring back new skills in leadership and other areas that help them care for patients better. While volunteering, their employing trust can use their salary locally for other staff.’
The NHS Thames Valley and Wessex Leadership Academy added: ‘Volunteers work with the local health team and are supported to use quality improvement methods to help make sustainable improvements in healthcare and to develop their own leadership skills.’