HEALTH officials last night defended a decision to send a North-East delegation on an £84,000 mission to Japan - to find new ways of "increasing efficiency".
Families of patients denied drugs on the NHS, as well as two GPs, have criticised the trip to study Toyota's "lean management" techniques at a time when cash-strapped health authorities are trying to cut costs.
But the North-East Strategic Health Authority stood by the decision last night, insisting that the lessons learnt would save money and make the NHS more efficient.
Last month's visit cost £84,000 to fly a 14-strong team to Japan. Officials said the cash came from "central training funds".
If they want to be efficient, why sent fourteen?
Efficiency is sending one with a notepad and pencil