Wales politics

Betsi Cadwaladr's suspended chief paid to work in England

Trevor Purt
Image caption Trevor Purt is still on the Betsi Cadwaladr payroll while working in England, AMs are told

A Welsh health board is still paying the £200,000 salary of its suspended chief executive while he works in England, AMs have been told.

In October it was confirmed Trevor Purt was stepping down from Betsi Cadwaladr health board, which will remain in special measures for two years.

Board chairman Dr Peter Higson told AMs Mr Purt was being seconded to a health job in England for 12 months.

He said the arrangement was the "best value" for money for the taxpayer.

Senior figures at the health board serving north Wales have been giving evidence to the assembly's public accounts committee on Tuesday.

Dr Higson told AMs Mr Purt had "relinquished" his job in north Wales and his secondment included "payment in lieu of notice".

"I think in the circumstances we found ourselves, the options we had in front of us, this was probably the best value in terms of cost overall, and also in terms of allowing the health board to move quickly to recruit a new chief executive," he said.

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Media captionDr Peter Higson says the arrangement is 'best value' for the taxpayer

According to an online business network profile, Mr Purt is working as an advisor to the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.

Betsi Cadwaladr has been under the highest possible level of Welsh government intervention since June, for what Health Minister Mark Drakeford called "serious and outstanding concerns" about its leadership.

A report in May found "institutional abuse" at the Tawel Fan mental health ward in Glan Clwyd Hospital.

In June, it emerged there was a fraud investigation into aspects of the board's spending plans.

Earlier in November, ministers announced the board would receive extra help, including an improvement team to help managers set key milestones.

Facing questions about what the board was doing to turn things around, interim chief executive Simon Dean told AMs there was no complacency at the top of the organisation.

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