Carstairs chief to step aside amid bullying probe

Carstairs chief executive Andreana Anderson. Picture: Robert Perry
Carstairs chief executive Andreana Anderson. Picture: Robert Perry
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THE chief executive of the State Hospital at Carstairs is to step aside while an independent investigation is carried out into bullying allegations.

• Andreana Adamson to step aside as Carstairs chief executive while investigation into bullying claims is carried out

• Ms Adamson has been in charge of hospital, which treats some of Scotland’s most dangerous murderers and rapists for more than a decade

The board has started to examine the claims made against Andreana Adamson, who has been in charge of the hospital which treats some of Scotland’s most dangerous murderers and rapists for more than a decade.

The investigation into the behaviour of Ms Adamson, who earns a salary of up to £115,000, also follows a row over payments made to senior executives at Carstairs.

Earlier this month, The Scotsman’s sister paper Scotland on Sunday revealed that questions had been raised about taxpayers’ cash, believed to amount to around £50,000, being shared among seven executives at the South Lanarkshire psychiatric institution.

The row erupted when Gordon Craig, the Carstairs board chairman from 2001-11, claimed that the senior managers were ineligible for the money – known as a recruitment and retention premium – which was awarded in June last year.

Mr Craig said that particular payment, which had its origins in danger money for front-line staff, was only intended for around 500 State Hospital staff whose pay is governed by nationally-agreed NHS guidelines under the Agenda for Change programme.

According to Mr Craig, senior managers were excluded from the Agenda for Change programme. He was also angered because the payments, which amounted to several thousand pounds for each executive, were backdated to 2005. In parliament, the health secretary Alex Neil said the payments had not originally been paid in 2005 because of an “oversight”.

Last night, First Minister Alex Salmond was dragged into the row when Mr Craig questioned his handling of the controversy.

The issue of the payments to senior management was raised with Mr Salmond by Labour’s health secretary Jackie Baillie at First Minister’s Questions last week. In his answer to Ms Baillie, the First Minister referred to an NHS document setting out pay and conditions for Carstairs senior managers. Mr Salmond said the 2006 document made clear “that unless specified otherwise”, managers were also covered by Agenda for Change terms.

Mr Salmond’s answer, however, has angered Mr Craig, who yesterday wrote to the First Minister telling him that such an interpretation of the document was “stretching credibility way beyond the limit”.

Mr Craig has maintained any alterations of pay and conditions for senior staff would have had to have been approved by ministers as well as the board, which he chaired at the time.

Referring to Mr Craig’s letter, Ms Baillie said: “Either the First Minister has misled parliament or he has been misled by his civil servants. The First Minister should make a full statement on this matter to parliament.”

In the letter, Mr Craig said: “I think the whole episode has been badly handled by those in the State Hospital and your government, who have tried to defend the indefensible by, first of all, implying that those of us responsible at the time did not know what we were doing and now have put an unbelievable interpretation on a nebulous paragraph of a document that rightly states that well remunerated staff should not be given additional payments.”

The hospital’s auditors KPMG were asked to look into the claims about the cash paid to senior executives. A spokesman for the Scottish Government said earlier this month that KPMG had concluded that the payments were “legitimate”.

The spokesman said it was now up to the board of management at Carstairs to determine if any further inquiry was needed.