Police look into lost NHS millions
Friday 05 February 1993
An investigation by the Independent and Computer Weekly, revealed yesterday that Virginia Bottomley, the Secretary of State for Health, had failed to act on a confidential district auditor report compiled last year that exposed serious mismanagement in the health authority.
The report, which Wessex and the Department of Health have tried to prevent becoming public, criticises Sir Robin Buchanan, the authority chairman, for intervening in contracts committing Wessex to paying for services it did not need, and sometimes did not get.
In 1991, Sir Robin was appointed by the Government to chair the NHS Supplies Authority, one of the most senior health service posts and a key part of government strategy for the NHS. In total, it is estimated Wessex lost as much as pounds 63m in its pursuit of an integrated regional computer system. Some of the money was lost before Sir Robin became chairman in 1988.
The Department of Health acknowledged possession of the secret report. A spokesman admitted: 'Sir Robin was criticised for two matters . . . but we are not planning any further action.'
David Blunkett, shadow Secretary of State for Health, called for the 'immediate publication' of the report. He asked for proper scrutiny of Sir Robin's role and said of the department's refusal to act: 'A total lack of openness and a fear of employees to speak out is creating a dangerous atmosphere of cover-up and the dismissal of genuine worries about the waste of money, nepotism and misuse of resources. This can only damage patient care.'
John Denham, Labour MP for Southampton Itchen, yesterday tabled a series of parliamentary questions, asking Mrs Bottomley when she received the report and what action she took.
In addition to the disclosures in the secret report, the Independent's investigation discovered that Sir Robin initiated a disturbing conflict of interest with a computer supplier and also approached another for a financial loan to help to keep the region's computer programme going. The Treasury refused to authorise it.
Yesterday Wessex said it would be investigating, adding: 'We were not aware of that and will be asking Sir Robin about that.'
Hampshire police fraud squad said: 'We have been made aware of certain matters and these are now being investigated.'
Leading article, page 18
- 1 Cyclist in Russia narrowly misses being hit by car and lorry
- 2 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 3 What are your fingerprint words?
- 5 Pink Floyd new album: Band unveil cover art for first record in 20 years
Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
Slough train station deaths: Woman and child killed after being 'pushed in front of train'
Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
Jennifer Lawrence: Leaked 4Chan sex video branded 'fake' by users
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Labour Party conference: Ed Balls to set out plan to freeze child benefit to balance books
£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...
£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...
£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...