Management replaced at crisis-hit NHS Tayside

A new senior management team has been installed at scandal-hit NHS Tayside as pressure mounted on Health Secretary Shona Robison over her handling of the crisis.

Health Secretary Shona Robison.
Health Secretary Shona Robison.

John Brown, the chair of NHS Glasgow and Clyde, was appointed interim chair at Tayside after Professor John Connell resigned.

Ms Robison approved the appointment having called for Prof Connell to quit following revelations NHS Tayside had used charitable donations to pay for computer systems. The Health Secretary had also said the position of chief executive Lesley McLay was “untenable” after using ministerial powers of intervention to take over control of the board.

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It emerged that Malcolm Wright, chief executive of NHS Grampian, had been appointed acting chief executive by NHS Scotland chief executive Paul Gray.

Ms Robison called for Professor John Connell to quit.

Mr Gray said Ms McLay was now not at work “for personal reasons”. It was reported she was on sick leave.

Earlier this week it emerged that NHS Tayside took more than £2 million from its endowment fund – which is made up of donations from the public or bequests in wills – to cover general running costs, which could normally be funded from its core budget.

Ms Robison thanked Prof Connell for his “personal probity” but said a leadership change was the right thing to do to move the health board forward.

But Mid Scotland and Fife Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser said Ms Robison’s treatment of Professor Connell had been “shameful”.

Ms Robison called for Professor John Connell to quit.

He said: “What little respect NHS officials and staff had for the Health Secretary has surely been lost following this latest bid to save her own skin.

“NHS Tayside is suffering from problems present long before Prof John Connell took charge and it is shameful to see the person in charge of our NHS use officials as human shields to cover up her own under-performance.

“The SNP has lost complete control over our NHS, a service that they have been in charge of for over 11 years, and it’s high time they took responsibility for their own mismanagement.”
Ms Robison has insisted a leadership change was required to maintain public confidence.

Mr Gray said: “These appointments will provide stability to the board and enhance financial scrutiny.

Mr Brown will retain the role of Chair of Greater Glasgow and Clyde, but in the meantime will pass some of his duties to the vice-chairman, Ross Finnie.

Mr Wright will also remain as chief executive of NHS Grampian, but his deputy Amanda Croft will oversee the day-to-day operations of NHS Grampian.