SLHT administrator Caroline Taylor refuses to answer questions about 'deliberate cover-up' of £22m NHS Croydon overspend

This Is Local London: SLHT administrator Caroline Taylor SLHT administrator Caroline Taylor

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."

Comments (1)

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9:47am Tue 30 Apr 13

ksc says...

The NHS is in financial dire straits there is no denying this, I (the cynic) believes that any government would, behind close doors, welcome any problems that could spell the end of the NHS whilst publicly doing everything in their power cherish that once beautiful concept of free health care for anyone and everyone.
There are two big problems, firstly it is simply our inability to stop people from the rest of the world coming to the UK for a few grands worth of free treatment then going home, I have worked in the NHS and have seen this first hand, I even asked an eight and a half month pregnant lady from a non EU country why she would risk flying so close to her delivery date, she with a straight face replied, because now I'm here you will have to deliver my baby free, won't you?
I personally think this practice must stop, but it won't, so 50% of the nail is already in the NHS coffin, secondly, everything from a one man business to a multi national company has to have good honest management in order to succeed, good honest staff is desirable but if they don't match up to expectations you sack them, with management it's not so easy, Ms Taylor and fellow managers are hiding something, for what other reason would they all refuse to answer question on financial mismanagement, if that was a bunch of nurses clamming up over a financial discrepancy they would all be on the first bus to the job centre, but the person sacking them would be a manager, so what manager would want to sack a fellow manager, look after people on the way up , because you might meet them on the way down, so the saying goes.
So managers who are not up to the job will continue to run the NHS well into the 21st century, and there is your second half of the nail holding that coffin lid down, it's starting to look like those MPs might get their secret wish after all.
The NHS is in financial dire straits there is no denying this, I (the cynic) believes that any government would, behind close doors, welcome any problems that could spell the end of the NHS whilst publicly doing everything in their power cherish that once beautiful concept of free health care for anyone and everyone. There are two big problems, firstly it is simply our inability to stop people from the rest of the world coming to the UK for a few grands worth of free treatment then going home, I have worked in the NHS and have seen this first hand, I even asked an eight and a half month pregnant lady from a non EU country why she would risk flying so close to her delivery date, she with a straight face replied, because now I'm here you will have to deliver my baby free, won't you? I personally think this practice must stop, but it won't, so 50% of the nail is already in the NHS coffin, secondly, everything from a one man business to a multi national company has to have good honest management in order to succeed, good honest staff is desirable but if they don't match up to expectations you sack them, with management it's not so easy, Ms Taylor and fellow managers are hiding something, for what other reason would they all refuse to answer question on financial mismanagement, if that was a bunch of nurses clamming up over a financial discrepancy they would all be on the first bus to the job centre, but the person sacking them would be a manager, so what manager would want to sack a fellow manager, look after people on the way up , because you might meet them on the way down, so the saying goes. So managers who are not up to the job will continue to run the NHS well into the 21st century, and there is your second half of the nail holding that coffin lid down, it's starting to look like those MPs might get their secret wish after all. ksc

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