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by Jenni Davidson
19 February 2016
Angiolina Foster appointed interim chief executive of NHS 24

Angiolina Foster appointed interim chief executive of NHS 24

Angiolina Foster, the current chief executive of Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS), has been appointed interim chief executive of NHS 24.

She will take up the role on 1 March following the departure of current NHS 24 interim chief executive Ian Crichton at the end of this month.

Foster has been chief executive of Healthcare Improvement Scotland since April 2014 and before that was the director of health and social care integration at the Scottish Government.

The deputy chief executive of Healthcare Improvement Scotland, Robbie Pearson, will take on the duties of the chief executive for regulatory body, although Foster will continue to be the HIS accountable officer.

Foster said: “NHS 24 provides a vital service to people in Scotland every single day. I very much look forward to working with such a committed team and to helping them achieve the service improvements that the Future Programme will bring.

“My passion for the important work of Healthcare Improvement Scotland is undiminished and I know I am leaving it in very good hands until my return later this year.”

Development of NHS 24’s new IT system, known as the Future Programme, has been beset by problems.

The system still has no launch date and is projected to cost £117.4m over 10 years, £41.6m more than the original £75m price tag.

Ian Crichton appeared before the Scottish Parliament’s audit committee last month to give evidence on management of the contract, which was signed by his predecessor, John Turner. Turner also appeared before the committee.

Crichton told the committee: “From the very start, the organisation vastly underestimated the scale of the work and the complexity involved in bringing such an ambitious programme into service, and it has struggled to cope.”

Later he explained: “Although many mistakes have been made—and I can understand the committee’s extreme concern and dissatisfaction—it is important that you understand that NHS 24 has learned from them.

“It may not feel like that when you look at the issue from a distance, but if you look at each stage, when we have fallen down, we have picked ourselves up; we have made progress and got to the position today in which the technology works. We were not in that position a year ago.”

The Scottish Government has confirmed it will continue to support the Future Programme.

Officials with experience of working on health technology projects are to work alongside the NHS 24 Future Programme Board to support the team’s governance arrangements.

Chief Nursing Officer Professor Fiona McQueen, John Brown, Chair of NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and Jeff Ace, Chief Executive of NHS Dumfries & Galloway will form an advice and assurance group to provide assurances around the implementation plan for the Future Programme.

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