Mar 2 2012 by Stuart Wilson, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
GO now – before you do any more damage.
That’s the message to NHS Ayrshire and Arran’s under-fire bosses from one of their former top surgeons.
Pat McNally, who spent 11 years at the beleaguered health board, has accused the authority of “criminally blatant lies”.
It comes after last week’s revelation that Critical Incident Reports were not released during a Freedom of Information request.
And Scotland’s outgoing information commissioner, Kevin Dunion, slammed Ayrshire and Arran chiefs for a “catalogue of failings” at management level.
The firestorm has now led to a full review, ordered by Scottish health secretary, Nicola Sturgeon.
But Mr McNally insists that heads must roll – or the public will lose all faith in its health service.
He said: “The concept that critical records were being withheld is, in my opinion, criminally incompetent.
“It is incomprehensible that certain people remain in their jobs at the top of the tree at NHS Ayrshire and Arran.
“The bottom line is that someone must carry the can for a failing as serious as this.
“And let’s not forget, it’s not the first time in recent years that the health board has been in huge trouble.”
Ayrshire and Arran chiefs were carpeted by an independent scrutiny panel in 2007, who ruled the health board has misled the public in their bid to close Ayr’s A&E unit.
Now the board faces a further review of its practices by Healthcare Improvement Scotland.
Mr McNally, who also served as a surgical director, claimed: “The entire executive should be clearing their desks after this mess.
“NHS Ayrshire and Arran should have cleaned house a long time ago and the result is that people no longer trust them.
“This is just one scandal too far.”
Politicians have also lined up to criticise the health board and are pledging to closely follow the findings of the review.
Adam Ingram, MSP for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley, said: “This a serious enough issue that calls into question both the competence and integrity of senior management at NHS Ayrshire and Arran.
“At best, they are accused of treating someone as a vexatious complainant before trying to invoke discpilinary procedures against him.
“If that’s found to be true, then heads at the top of the tree must roll.”
Ayr MSP John Scott insisted: “Self evidently learning from mistakes, however difficult at the time, should be encouraged at all times, and this is the case elsewhere in Scotland.
“For NHS Ayrshire and Arran management to have discouraged this process by withholding making records available over a period of five years, was clearly obstructive and not in the best interests of patient care.
“These governance and management failures must not be allowed to happen again and I look forward to the early completion of Health Improvement Scotland’s report and its recommendations.”
And Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock MP, Sandra Osborne, added: “The way this has been dealt with is extremely worrying and I call for immediate action to restore public confidence, which can only have been adversely affected by the findings of the information commissioner.”
NHS chiefs insist they welcome the review which will now take place.
Chief executive, John Burns, said: “We are fully committed to taking forward the actions set out by the cabinet secretary and will co-operate fully with healthcare improvement scotland in the review that they will carry out.”