NHS bosses raided charity funds

Nhs tayside

Millions taken from charitable endowment fund it is alleged 

4th April 2018 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

NHS bosses raided charity funds to cover routine running costs at cash-strapped NHS Tayside.  

Bosses are alleged to have used donated public cash to pay for a new computer system in 2014, a story in the Herald has alleged.

Some £2.71 million was taken to cover the costs of the IT system, taken from a charitable endowment fund – cash that would normally be spent on non-NHS funded extras such as children’s toys and additional furniture for wards.

The organisation had previously provoked outrage back in 2004 when it took £400,000 from the same endowment fund to buy nurses’ uniforms.

Retired NHS director Professor Alan Boyter, who now runs his own HR consultancy and sits on a number of NHS trusts, said: “One of the golden rules about endowment funds is that you don't ever use charitable donations to fund exchequer spending.

“The idea of the endowment fund really is that it pays for the extras that the NHS can't pay for itself.

“It pays for the Imperial Leather rather than the carbolic, so to speak. An IT system, funded retrospectively, is not an appropriate use of the endowment fund.”

Chief executive, Lesley McLay, was in charge at the time and is understood to have sat in the meeting where the decision to take cash from the endowment fund was signed off.

The newspaper reports that during the meeting “several trustees were very uncomfortable and challenged the request”. However, the issue is complicated by the fact all executive and non-executive members of the health board automatically become trustees of the endowment fund.

A spokeswoman for the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) said it would consider the case.

NHS Tayside responded in a statement: “All funding applications are considered by an Endowment Advisory Group, to support a range of purposes, such as the purchase of items to improve patient care, additional staff training, funding to support research, to enhance the healthcare environment and, critically, support for innovation to improve service provision or care. The annual accounts of the Tayside Health Fund are subject to annual external audit.

“The Board of Trustees, led by former Chairman of NHS Tayside, Mr Sandy Watson, approved this application as part of a number of proposals that were recommended by the Endowment Advisory Group for retrospective support.”