Willie Rennie urges investigation into NHS Fife leadership

Written by Tom Freeman on 12 November 2018 in News

Liberal Democrat leader questions culture at health board chaired by former PO Tricia Marwick

Victoria Hospital Kirkcaldy - credit AAG CC 2.0

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has called for the Scottish Government to investigate governance at NHS Fife after a series of high profile resignations hit the health board.

Chair of the integrated health and social care partnership, Simon Little, resigned last week before a review of out of hours services is concluded.

Little is the third resignation this year after chief operating officer Scott McLean and chair of the governance group John Paterson.

NHS Fife’s chair is former presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament Tricia Marwick, who instigated a review of the board’s governance when she took up the post in January 2017.

Rennie said he raised concerns about the board’s governance with the Scottish Government “earlier this year”.

He said: “Since 2016 NHS Fife has lost a chairman, a senior director and two senior board members. These are all senior people with outstanding records of public service and leadership. Four departures of senior people in just two years indicates that something is going wrong at the heart of the organisation.”

He added: “I believed that the issues were being resolved earlier this year but the recent departure of Simon Little means that questions must be asked. The Scottish Government needs to conduct an investigation into NHS Fife.”

NHS Fife chief executive Paul Hawkins told the Courier: “Mr Rennie knows he is welcome at any time to discuss any concerns he may have regarding the work and governance of the NHS Fife board.

“NHS Fife is one of the better performing boards in Scotland. It has managed both performance and finances over the last few years and has not needed financial assistance from the government to balance the budget.”

Hawkins said the board is “committed to supporting non-executive board members” and that Marwick “actively encourages” them to hold senior management to account.

“The current chair of the board instigated a complete review of governance when she took office in January 2017 and introduced a number of changes to strengthen governance and to ensure that board non-executives are supported to hold the NHS Fife directors to account,” he said.

“In Audit Scotland’s annual review of governance at NHS Fife, Audit Scotland recognised that governance arrangements at the board had been strengthened as a result of these changes.”

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