New NHS Tayside chiefs must ‘restore public confidence’, orders Shona Robison

Written by Tom Freeman on 11 April 2018 in News

NHS Tayside ordered to get finances under control by health secretary who has exercised emergency ministerial powers

Shona Robison - Scottish government

The new management team at a beleaguered health board have been told to win back public trust by health secretary Shona Robison.

Following a financial crisis and allegations of the misuse of charity funds, NHS Tayside has appointed  NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde chairman John Brown as interim chairman and NHS Grampian's CEO Malcolm Wright as acting NHS Tayside chief executive.

Robison exercised emergency ministerial powers to intervene and demand the previous leadership team be replaced.

“I expect them to work on a recovery plan to get NHS Tayside back on track and make sure there is no impact on patient services and importantly to restore public confidence,” she told the BBC.

“I believe the interim chair and chief executive have the right skills and the right experience, they will bring the skillset that is required to the job in NHS Tayside.

“I have confidence they will be able to make a difference in making sure NHS Tayside gets back on track and that public confidence is restored and there is no impact on patient services, which out of everything is the most important thing here.”

Robison’s predecessor as health secretary Alex Neil has called for health boards to be merged into three super boards, an idea which has been suggested in the past.

There had been “far too many layers of management, not enough emphasis on medical decision-making and too much emphasis in some cases on targets,” he said.

NHS Tayside is being investigated by the Public Audit Committee after Audit Scotland revealed the board was surviving only with the help of emergency loans from government. NHS chief executive Paul Gray told MSPs its financial situation would get worse before it got better.

Meanwhile, NHS Dumfries and Galloway has also appealed to ministers for emergency funding of £4.5m in order to maintain services.

Chief operating officer Julie White said: “We have as a system experienced considerable challenges in both our treatment time guarantee and our out-patients and our day cases.

“We will be working closely with our clinical teams to look at the use of any additional investment that we receive from the Scottish government to support us to improve our waiting time position.”

Scottish Labour’s health spokesperson, Anas Sarwar, said Robison should consider her position.

“She has continually let down hard-working staff and patients – how can we expect her to fix the crisis in health boards when she can’t even properly fund NHS Tayside in her own backyard?” he said.

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