ONE of Scotland’s biggest health boards has been rocked by allegations about senior staff in a string of anonymous letters.
The misconduct claims were all sent to the chief executive of NHS Fife, Paul Hawkins, and sparked investigations into board members and executives at the health authority.
A claim in one letter, that chief operating officer Scott McLean had promoted his mistress to a highly paid job, was dismissed by an independent investigation last year.
But Mr McLean was then suspended over misconduct allegations made in a follow-up anonymous letter, which also made claims about five other managers and clinicians at the health board.
In a separate development non-executive director John Paterson has quit the NHS Fife board after claiming the he couldn’t “adequately discharge” his duties in the current environment.
A total of four letters have now been sent to the chief executive and it is understood Health Secretary Shona Robison is aware of the nature of the allegations.
Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Alex Rowley said: “NHS Fife are operating under a lot financial pressure and we really need the whole of the management of the health board to be focused on delivering for the people of Fife.
“They can’t possibly do that if they are having so many internal problems.
“The Scottish Government appear to be putting their head in the sand when it comes to the management of NHS Fife.”
It is understood at the start of last year an anonymous complaint was made to the chief executive about Mr McLean, chief operating officer in charge of acute services.
The claims centred on the recruitment of Shelley Marshall, 38, to a secondment post within the acute services division while she and Mr McLean, an honorary professor at St Andrews University’s School of Medicine, were in a relationship.
An independent investigation, headed by an executive from NHS Lanarkshire, was launched and ruled in June last year there had been no wrongdoing.
It is understood two more anonymous letters were then sent to Mr Hawkins’ office making misconduct claims about Mr McLean, and other executives.
An investigation was launched and Mr McLean – but no other staff – was then suspended in November last year. It is understood a fourth anonymous letter making allegations about another executive has also been received.
Non-executive director Mr Paterson yesterday confirmed he had resigned from NHS Fife.
He said: “I didn’t feel the environment was such that I could adequately discharge my assurances to the Cabinet Secretary”.
We understand that previous NHS Fife chairman, Allan Burns, who stepped down in 2016, also raised concerns about the environment in which the board operates with the Scottish Government.
A spokesman for the health board said: “NHS Fife has a legal responsibility to protect its employees, and is therefore unable to comment on matters relating to individual staff members.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Decisions involving members of staff are matters for individual Health Boards. We expect all NHS Scotland employees to act in line with the values and behaviours policies in place.”
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