Call for probe into bosses at NHS Fife

Con­cerns raised over pa­tient care as staff morale plum­mets

The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - CLAIRE WARRENDER See full story on page 9

“Rock bot­tom” morale at NHS Fife has sparked fears that pa­tient care is be­ing put at risk.

The Scot­tish Govern­ment has been urged to in­ves­ti­gate the lead­er­ship of the board fol­low­ing a string of high-pro­file de­par­tures.

Scot­tish Lib­eral Demo­crat leader Willie Ren­nie hit out fol­low­ing the shock de­par­ture of non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Si­mon Lit­tle last week.

The chair­man of the Fife Health and So­cial Care Part­ner­ship re­signed just weeks be­fore a fi­nal de­ci­sion was due on the fu­ture of out-of-hours GP ser­vices in the re­gion.

Mr Ren­nie said: “With a weaker board and lack of a proper chal­lenge the risk to the de­liv­ery of health­care is real.”

NHS Fife said it was one of the bet­ter per­form­ing boards in Scot­land and re­vealed chair­woman Tri­cia Mar­wick had or­dered a com­plete re­view of gov­er­nance pro­ce­dures when she took of­fice al­most two years ago.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul Hawkins pointed out that all Fife MPs and MSPs had reg­u­lar meet­ings with both him and Mrs Mar­wick.

“Mr Ren­nie knows he is wel­come at any time to dis­cuss any con­cerns he may have re­gard­ing the work and gov­er­nance of the NHS Fife board,” he said.

“NHS Fife is one of the bet­ter per­form­ing boards in Scot­land.

“It has man­aged both per­for­mance and fi­nances over the last few years and has not needed fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance from the govern­ment to balance the bud­get.”

Mr Hawkins added: “The cur­rent chair of the board in­sti­gated a com­plete re­view of gov­er­nance when she took of­fice in Jan­uary 2017 and in­tro­duced a num­ber of changes to strengthen gov­er­nance and to en­sure that board non-ex­ec­u­tives are sup­ported to hold the NHS Fife di­rec­tors to ac­count.

“In Au­dit Scot­land’s an­nual re­view of gov­er­nance at NHS Fife, Au­dit Scot­land recog­nised that gov­er­nance ar­range­ments at the board had been strength­ened as a re­sult of th­ese changes.

“NHS Fife, along with all other boards in Scot­land, is con­stantly mon­i­tor­ing and re­view­ing gov­er­nance ar­range­ments to en­sure trans­parency and ac­count­abil­ity.

“NHS Fife is com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing non-ex­ec­u­tive board mem­bers at com­mit­tee and board level to have every op­por­tu­nity to hold se­nior man­age­ment to ac­count and the cur­rent chair ac­tively en­cour­ages every board mem­ber to do so.”

A Scot­tish Govern­ment spokesper­son said: “NHS boards are re­spon­si­ble for the high­est stan­dards of gov­er­nance to en­sure pub­lic con­fi­dence.

“Any is­sues re­gard­ing gov­er­nance ar­range­ments or the ac­tions of in­di­vid­ual board mem­bers will be ad­dressed with the board.”

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