SOUTH London Healthcare Trust’s new administrator Caroline Taylor was in charge of NHS Croydon when there was a deliberate cover-up of a £28m black hole in its budget, it has been revealed.
Ms Taylor has been appointed to oversee the trust as it prepares for dissolution later this year.
And once the SLHT - which runs Orpington Hospital, the Queen Elizabeth in Woolwich, Sidcup's Queen Mary's and the PRUH in Farnborough - is dissolved later this year, she will continue as an implementation director until 2016.
But she still has questions to answer about her time at Croydon Primary Care Trust.
Members of the South West London Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (JHOSC) are urging the Secretary of State for Health to compel her to answer crucial questions that remain unanswered about her time there.
They say the refusal of Ms Taylor, former finance director Stephen O’Brien and interim deputy director of finance Mark Phillips to give evidence means they do not know the full extent of financial mismanagement at Croydon Primary Care Trust (PCT), despite a seven-month investigation.
The committee, formed by six south-west London councils to probe why the PCT reported a £5.54m surplus in its 2010/11 budget when it was actually £22.4m in debt, said there was "significant motivation for senior officers to disguise the extent of the financial incompetence at NHS Croydon to safeguard their own positions".
The report, published yesterday (April 29), also criticised the NHS for failing to hold individuals to account for the overspend and flatly contradicted the findings of a 2012 NHS-commissioned Ernst & Young report which lay the blame on a systems failure rather than staff.
JHOSC chairman Councillor Jason Cummings said: "What has become clear from the committee’s review is that the accounting errors were deliberately hidden.
“This was not the result of any system failure but a consequence of the action of individuals, who have still to explain their actions.
"We have been faced by a wall of silence from key witnesses in the NHS and subsequently there are still some questions that remain unanswered.
"In particular, we still don’t know why the accounts were altered and whether patients had been directly affected.
"This cannot be right, and we now call on the Department of Health to carry out rigorous investigation and ensure the relevant officers can be publicly held to account."