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NHS Tayside to repay more than £2m of endowment fund money

The health board used the cash to pay for running costs in 2013-14.

NHS Tayside: Scandal saw resignation of health board's chairman (file pic).
NHS Tayside: Scandal saw resignation of health board's chairman (file pic). Fgioqwerty

NHS Tayside is to refund money from its endowment fund which was used to cover general running costs.

The health board used more than £2m from its endowment fund - made up of donations from the public or bequests in wills - to cover running costs such as funding new technology, which could normally be funded from its core budget.

This was said to have happened when the board was faced with a funding deficit in 2013-14, with NHS Tayside forced to temporarily suspend its constitution to do so as the money was going to retrospectively fund projects already approved.

The revelations earlier this month prompted the resignation of NHS Tayside chairman, professor John Connell, with Greater Glasgow health board boss John Brown now installed in the job on an interim basis.

The issue was discussed at an extraordinary board meeting on Thursday.

Board members agreed to a proposal presented by Mr Brown and NHS Tayside chief executive Malcolm Wright to repay the endowment money which had been retrospectively applied to the programmes of work.

Mr Brown said: "For our staff and our patients, we believe this is the right thing to do.

"The decision made by the Board today doesn't pre-empt the findings of the formal inquiry into Tayside NHS endowment funds by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR).

"It does mean that we can move forward, start to rebuild confidence and ensure there are no distractions to continuing to do what we do best and that is making sure everyone in Tayside receives high-quality and effective care and treatment."

Financial problems meant NHS Tayside had to be bailed out with Scottish Government loans totalling £37.5m between 2012-13 and 2017-18.

Health secretary Shona Robison welcomed the announcement on Thursday.

She said: "This move to make good on the historic use of endowment funds will allow the Board to fully concentrate on the important task of increasing public confidence and ensuring long term financial stability."

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