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Robison grilled over NHS Tayside scandal

Conrad Landin is at Holyrood

SCOTTISH ministers were accused of being “disingenuous” today, as embattled Health Secretary Shona Robison received a grilling over the NHS Tayside spending scandal.

Holyrood public audit committee convener Jenny Marra questioned the government’s insistence that it was not aware of NHS Tayside’s use of charitable donations to cover general running costs.

Ms Robison has insisted that the use of £3.6 million from the health board's endowment fund to help it break even in 2013-14 was not raised by auditors as a matter of concern.

Accountants Grant Thornton found no evidence of the issue being taken up with ministers in its audit of the scandal.

But Labour’s Ms Marra pointed to an annual report for 2014 showing that the endowment and general funds had been combined.

She asked Ms Robison at a committee hearing: “It’s in a report submitted to your office, so why wasn’t that acted upon?

“It is disingenuous for the Scottish government to say they didn’t know when this report with this information landed on your desk.”

Ms Robison said the information contained in the 2014 report by PWC contained a “factual statement” and had not been “escalated” by the auditors.

“I have never had a matter of the retrospective use of endowment funds in NHS Tayside escalated to me as a minister,” she said.

The Tayside scandal is one of a series of headaches currently faced by NHS Scotland.

At First Minister’s Questions yesterday, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard revealed figures showing a 234 per cent increase in patients who had not been treated within 12 weeks.

He said Nicola Sturgeon should ditch talk of another referendum on independence and “put the NHS before the SNP.”


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