Andreana Adamson is to be the NHS director health and justice, despite being singled out in the report that examined payments totalling about £50,000 divided among a handful of senior employees and allegations of bullying of staff at Carstairs.
Ms Adamson, who was on up to £115,000 a year, will retain the same pay and conditions in her new role.
Seven senior staff at Carstairs, which treats some of the most dangerous individuals in Scotland, are thought to have benefited from the payments at a time when junior workers had their pay frozen.
Ms Adamson stepped aside as chief executive six months ago after the payments were revealed by The Scotsman’s sister paper Scotland on Sunday.
She has been taking her taxpayer-funded salary since then and working outside the hospital in a job looking at transferring responsibility for healthcare in custody from Police Scotland to the NHS. Her new job, which is in the form of a secondment from the state hospital, is in a similar field.
Scottish Labour health spokesman Neil Findlay said: “It appears that despite being criticised for authorising additional payments totalling £50,000 to senior colleagues and poor leadership, Andreana Adamson has been promoted by [health secretary] Alex Neil to a new national role in the NHS.
“His judgment on this is highly questionable. Junior NHS staff will see this as one rule for management and another rule for those at the bottom.”
Scottish Conservative chief whip John Lamont said: “There is certainly some explaining to do on the part of the NHS and the Scottish Government here. The public will view the awarding of these bonuses as extremely distasteful. They expect that those who oversaw that are not in a position to do so again.”
Ms Adamson stopped running the state hospital after claims senior management were ineligible for the payments, which were originally devised as an allowance for frontline staff dealing directly with murderers and rapists receiving treatment at Carstairs.
An investigation was launched into the management of Carstairs and a report was compiled by Professor Jim McGoldrick, a former chairman of NHS Fife. His report, published yesterday, found no evidence of fraud or serious misconduct, but criticised Ms Adamson’s leadership. It also said there were general bullying issues but did not raise any specific allegations.
On the question of the bonus payments, Prof McGoldrick said they served as “an example of a combination of lack of foresight in the possible consequences of the decision to make the payment and poor managerial judgment and leadership on the part of the chief executive and to some degree the other directors in that the possibility of a conflict of interest and personal financial gain was not considered”.
The report said eligibility for the payments had not been considered by the Carstairs board through its remuneration committee. Instead, they had been given the “de facto” approval of board chairman Terry Currie, who had been left forms to sign by the chief executive.
This had “exposed a weakness” in the governance arrangements for senior managers’ pay.
“This lapse in process was a source of some embarrassment to the chair, which would not have occurred had the board followed its own procedures,” the report said.
The inquiry found “issues” around “leadership, culture and behaviour” at the hospital. “This is most often linked to the issue of bullying and harassment,” the report said. “Whilst this investigation was not focused on any specific allegation of bullying behaviour, it was, nonetheless, a running theme throughout.”
Mr Currie said: “The report, which found no evidence of fraud or serious misconduct, has provided us with a clear way forward. Our focus is now on implementing the recommendations.”