Quangowatch: No 12: Scarborough and North- East Yorkshire Health Trust

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What does it do? Provides hospital and community health care

Cost? pounds 47m in 1993/94

Who is on the board? Tom Pindar, chairman, owner of a local print company and a Conservative Party supporter. He is answerable only to Virginia Bottomley, the Secretary of State for Health. Chief executive and fellow board member on a salary of pounds 55,000 is Robert G Crawford, born in Ohio, a former colonel in the US Army, who fought in Vietnam and later became chief of electronic warfare in the Frankfurt US Army Corps, senior nuclear weapons adviser to the US Army in Rheindahlen, Germany, and then served at Nato HQ in Belgium.

How did a foreign soldier with no health experience get the job? He retired from the US Army, bought a pounds 200,000 house in Scarborough, and applied to work for Mr Pindar's printing firm in 1992. 'I didn't realise he had become the hospital trust's chairman,' he says. 'I was not interested in the hospital job. I did not even know it existed. It was not until I was well into the interview that I discovered what job was being offered.

Is his backgroud a help to the sick of North-East Yorkshire? 'It is the deputy commander's job in Belgium which gives me the experience to manage a health authority rather than control of nuclear weapons.'

Controversy One: Before the last general election, the trust promised expansion in health care. Since then, 77 jobs have been lost, a new coronary unit and a new pyschiatric unit have been postponed, and a rehabilitation centre for fracture victims has been closed.

Controversy Two: David Billings, a Labour county councillor who was very critical of trust policies in his capacity as an elected representative, was sacked from his job as a manager with the trust. Unions say the sacking was political. The trust denies the charge.

Write with details of quangos you feel may warrant scrutiny to Quangowatch, Independent on Sunday, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

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