NHS Highland recalled to the Parliament’s Public Audit Committee

11.03.2015

NHS Highland is to be recalled to give evidence to the Public Audit Committee in order for MSPs to question them again on their management of NHS Highland’s finances in 2013/14.

At its meeting today the Public Audit Committee agreed to recall three witnesses from NHS Highland to give further evidence on the AGS report: 2013/14 audit of NHS Highland: Financial management. 

Committee Convener Paul Martin MSP explained:

“We held a Committee meeting in Inverness in early February to get answers about why NHS Highland needed last minute additional funding of £2.5 million from the Scottish Government in order to break even. 

“Having reflected upon that evidence and the subsequent written response from NHS Highland, a number of key questions remain unanswered.  

“We have therefore taken the very unusual step of recalling three NHS Highland witnesses so they can account for their actions in managing NHS Highland’s finances.”

Those witnesses are: 

Garry Coutts, Chair, Elaine Mead, Chief Executive, Nick Kenton, Director of Finance, NHS Highland. The date of the evidence session will be announced once confirmed.  

The Committee’s work follows the publication of the Auditor General for Scotland’s report, entitled: Section 22 report – The audit of NHS Highland 2013/14: Financial Management.  

In this report, the AGS concluded there were weaknesses in financial management in NHS Highland, mainly due to an overspend on operating costs for Raigmore hospital during 2013/14 and that poor financial management was major factor in the board requiring brokerage of £2.5 million from the Scottish Government in order to break even.  

Background

At its meeting on 5 November 2014, the Committee took evidence from the Auditor General for Scotland and Audit Scotland on the report entitled: Section 22 report – The audit of NHS Highland 2013/14: Financial Management. The Committee agreed to seek oral evidence from NHS Highland at a future meeting. 

At its meeting on the 19 November 2014, the Committee agreed to meet in Inverness in early 2015 to take evidence from NHS Highland on the Auditor General for Scotland's report entitled ''The 2013/14 audit of NHS Highland: Financial management.'' 

At its meeting on the 17 December 2014, the Committee agreed to defer consideration of whether to also take evidence on the report from the Scottish Government. 

At its meeting in Inverness on 2 February 2015, the Committee took evidence from Garry Coutts, Chair, Elaine Mead, Chief Executive, Nick Kenton, Director of Finance, and Chris Brown, Chief Internal Auditor, NHS Highland. The Committee also took evidence in private from Fraser McKinlay, Director and Controller of Audit, Angela Canning, Assistant Director, and Stephen Boyle, Assistant Director, Audit Scotland. The Committee then agreed to consider a draft report at a future meeting.

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