Next Wednesday, 12 March, the Audit Committee of the Scottish Parliament will hear further evidence with regards to the financial and other problems at NHS Western Isles. The briefing papers make interesting reading. Please note this link leads to a PDF document.
The former Chief Executive of the Health Board, Mr Manson, was accused in BBC reports last Friday of lying to the Committee. He had said he did not recall the "Cook report", which highlighted serious problems in the Board's finances. Upon consulting with former colleagues, Mr Manson does now remember the report.
The current management at the Board have declined, so far, to disclose the Cook Report to Parliament, stating that it contains confidential information, subject to the Data Protection Act. In reply, the Committee has said that it has taken note of these concerns, and offers safeguards for these confidential data. As a last resort, the Committee is in a position to compel the Board to release the report. The covering letter was released to the Committee.
The briefing papers also reveal that no requests were made to NHS Scotland for assistance towards reducing a mounting debt, except for a one-off overspend of £250k. Coverage in terms of personnel was supplied for the post of Finance DIrector in the period leading up to the coming into post of a new Director of Finance in April 2005. This appears to fly in the face of oral evidence given by the former CEO last week.