Former chief executive of beleaguered NHS Tayside got £90,000 pay-off

Lesley McLay left the board of NHS Tayside after going on sick leave in April
Lesley McLay left the board of NHS Tayside after going on sick leave in April
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The former chief executive of a beleaguered health board was paid £90,000 in severance.

Lesley McLay left NHS Tayside last week after going on sick leave in April – the day after being told she could no longer continue in her role.

She was heavily criticised after it emerged the health board had used charity money to help fund routine services.

Earlier this week, Labour MSP Jenny Marra said she believed the former chief executive had received a golden handshake of more than £300,000, but a spokeswoman for the health board said that was “categorically untrue”.

NHS Tayside said its chairman had written to Ms Marra in her capacity as convener of the Scottish Parliament’s audit committee to provide details of the payments made.

The health board said the payments were “legal and contractual entitlements”, adding that no additional money would be paid to Ms McLay.

Earlier this year it emerged NHS Tayside transferred £2.7 million from its endowment fund into core expenditure.

More than £2m was spent on an IT system. A new chairman and chief executive were appointed to run NHS Tayside after the health board was put in “special measures” by the Scottish Government.

Ms Marra said: “I am sure most people will agree that such a huge severance payment is inappropriate in this case.

“SNP politicians should explain to their constituents why they think it is acceptable for a health board that has been chronically underfunded by their own government to reward failure.

“If NHS Tayside had been honest about the extent of this pay-off in the first place, the board could have gone some way to starting to rebuild trust with patients and staff. Instead, it has now been forced to release this information that should have been made public in the first place.”

But SNP MSP Sandra White, who sits on Holyrood’s health committee, accused her Labour counterpart of making “utterly bogus and baseless claims”.

She said: “Ms Marra’s claims aren’t just wrong and misleading, they are wildly off the mark, and it appears to be a deliberate attempt to undermine our health service.

“People have legal entitlements and the NHS simply cannot refuse to make those payments, but as Tayside has said throughout there has been no ‘payoff’ or golden goodbye as Ms Marra claimed.”