Tayside and Central Scotland

Charity criticised over NHS Tayside payouts

Ninewells Hospital
Image caption NHS Tayside agreed to pay back the money at a meeting last April

Regulators have criticised an NHS charity after it used its funds to help plug a deficit at NHS Tayside.

It comes after the Tayside Health Fund used £3.6m to help pay for new projects, including an IT system in 2014.

The charity temporarily changed its procedures to allow retrospective funding applications for the projects.

The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) said there was "mismanagement" over the decision, but no rules were broken.

NHS Tayside agreed to pay back the money at a meeting called last April.

It followed the replacement of the board's top management team, shortly after the charity funding decision came to light.

In its report, OCSR said: "Despite poor governance and decision making we are satisfied that charitable assets were only used for charitable purposes and the projects to which grants were awarded were advancing the health of the people of Tayside and therefore in pursuit of the charity's purposes."

'Poor practice'

The regulator said that in agreeing to consider the retrospective applications, the charity trustee was "effectively acting to meet a deficit incurred by Tayside Health Board in its provision of NHS services."

The report said that the decision making process was "rushed and reflects poor practice."

It said: "The charity trustee made a major variation to the charity's policy and procedures at very short notice in the knowledge that the reason for doing so was to assist Tayside Health Board's financial position.

"In doing so, the charity trustee failed to act with the care and diligence that is reasonable to expect of a person who is managing the affairs of another person."

The regulator said that due to the charity's current situation and changes in personnel since the decisions were made, it did not consider it "necessary or proportionate" to take formal enforcement action.

A spokeswoman for the charity said they accepted the findings of the regulator.

She added: "We took steps to improve financial management in the charity from 2015 and are working with OSCR to continue strengthening our governance."

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