Scotland politics

Interim boss of Scotland's troubled NHS24 service quits

Ian Crichton
Image caption Mr Crichton was quizzed by MSPs on the audit committee earlier this year

The interim chief of Scotland's troubled NHS24 service is stepping down after six months in the job.

Ian Crichton took up the top job as the board struggled to roll out a new IT and call-handling system, which has suffered lengthy delays and is currently £40m over budget.

He was recently questioned by MSPs on the audit committee about the matter.

Mr Crichton told the committee that the system still had no launch date and could end up costing £125m.

He faced angry questions from MSPs, who said there had been "serious incompetence" at NHS24 leading to "a complete mess".

The new IT system, known as the Future Programme, was originally budgeted at £75m, but is currently forecast to cost £117m.

Mr Crichton took the place of John Turner, who was NHS24 chief executive between September 2008 and July 2015, and who signed the contracts for the system.

'Making progress'

Mr Crichton apologised to MSPs, saying the organisation had underestimated the scale and complexity of rolling out the programme.

Formerly a senior manager at Gillette and NHS National Services Scotland, Mr Crichton is now taking up a role outside NHS Scotland.

A Scottish government spokeswoman said a process was in place to find a successor.

She said: "We'd like to thank Ian Crichton for his many years of dedicated service to the NHS.

"The management team in direct charge of the Future Programme remains in place and is making progress towards rectifying the issues identified and readying the system for implementation.

"The Scottish government continues to work closely with the NHS24 Future Programme board to support the team's governance arrangements and ensure a successful switch over to the new system in the summer."

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