NHS Grampian fails to hire new chief executive

NHS Grampian failed to hire a new chief executive despite 13 interviews. Picture: Editorial
NHS Grampian failed to hire a new chief executive despite 13 interviews. Picture: Editorial
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A HEAVILY criticised Scottish health board has failed to find a new chief executive – despite ­­interviewing 13 applicants for the £151,000-a-year post.

NHS Grampian has been the subject of scathing reviews which identified a series of concerns, particularly about leadership, the care and safety of patients, and fears over general surgery.

The previous chief executive, Richard Carey, announced last October he was standing down from the health authority, along with the medical director, following disputes between management and senior consultants.The post is currently filled by interim chief executive Malcolm Wright.

A spokesman for NHS Grampian said: “Following an open competition involving a robust selection and interview process a decision has been taken not to appoint any of the shortlisted candidates.

“We have discussed options with the Scottish Government, and further expressions of interest in the post are now being sought. As this is an ongoing recruitment process, no further comments will be made until it is complete.”

The chief executive position was advertised by a recruitment agency at the end of last year. Thirteen candidates were put forward but no one was deemed up to the job.

The position was advertised as the “most critical” leadership role in the organisation.

A key quality demanded was the drive to make sure the health board was a positive workplace for the 15,000 staff.

Separate reviews of the health authority were made last year looking at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI), the care of older people and concerns over ­general surgery.

A report published into ARI concluded patient care faced a “serious impact” if problems were not “urgently addressed”, according to Healthcare ­Improvement Scotland (HIS).Their review, which made 13 recommendations for improvement, stated that there had been weaknesses in the leadership and management of the health board, the executive team and the senior management team at ARI.

The HIS report added that a small number of consultants had acted to undermine management and exhibited poor behaviour, while management of older patient flow and capacity in ARI and Woodend Hospital was not fit for purpose and put patient safety at risk

They also said that the NHS Grampian board was insufficiently aware of problems facing ARI. HIS also released a report into the care of elderly people, while recommendations from another report by the Royal College of Surgeons said a number of consultants were unable to work productively together.

It described one of the surgical units as significantly dysfunctional.

NHS Grampian accepted all the recommendations in the three reports.

At the time, interim chief executive Mr Wright said: “These reports highlight issues with leadership and management, culture and behaviour, accountability and governance. This is undoubtedly a challenging time for NHS Grampian.”