NHS – Cornwall FD in ‘no confidence’ row

The South West office of the NHS Executive has launched an investigation after a health authority finance director severely criticised his own organisation’s budget plans.

Last month, Richard Silvester told a board meeting of Cornwall and Isles of Scilly health authority that he had ‘no confidence’ in the authority’s management or its ability to stay within the budget presented at the meeting. He also refused to recommend members adopt the financial plans.

In a statement, Silvester said: ‘The service and financial framework process has been a consistent example of an unsatisfactory and incomplete process that has failed to address, in a timely way, issues that are significant to the authority’s financial performance.’

The enquiry will be led by Brian Tanner, chairman of Taunton & Somerset NHS trust, with Ian Marriott, finance director of Southampton and South West Hampshire health authority and Nigel Webb, chief executive of Solihull health authority.

The team will investigate the circumstances which led to Silvester’s statement and will examine his criticisms.

Dartford and Gravesham NHS trust’s finance director has hit back at critics of a private finance initiative project at the trust and blamed the media for exaggerating findings made in a National Audit Office report.

David Price said suggestions that the scheme would prove as costly to build as it would have had traditional finance methods been used were ‘clearly nonsensical’. As the first such deal, the hospital played a leading role in developing primary legislation for future projects and helped to shape subsequent PFI hospital schemes.

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