Government may be asked to force health chief Caroline Taylor to explain £22m black hole in NHS Croydon's finances
The Government may be asked to step in to force a health chief executive to explain a £22m black hole in NHS Croydon's finances.
Former chief executive of the primary care trust (PCT) Caroline Taylor has said nothing since it emerged the PCT had overspent by more than £22m, while posting a surplus of £5m in 2010-11.
Ms Taylor who was appointed chief executive of NHS North Central London in January, has repeatedly declined to answer questions about her time in Croydon, when the overspend occurred.
Her successor Ann Radmore is the only person to have given evidence of behalf of NHS Croydon at an inquiry into the overspend by the South West London Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
But the committee believes Ms Taylor, who was paid well over £100,000 a year, should explain what went wrong with the finances.
Concerns have been raised about how the overspend has impacted on health services in the borough, such as a screening programme aimed at detecting early warning signs of heart disease and stroke, which it was claimed at the inquiry had to be scaled back.
Chairman Jason Cummings said: "Ann Radmore cannot be expected to answer questions if they are about choices Caroline Taylor made.
"We have contacted NHS North London to request she be sent to us. She is still an NHS employee and we are a valid scrutiny committee."
He added: "If we have to go up to the Secretary of State then so be it. We will continue until there is nowhere left to go, because we feel there is no reason why she couldn't come unless she is hiding something.
"If she doesn't come we will only have one side of the picture to draw conclusions from, so we would rather she came and has her say."
A spokesperson for NHS South West London said: "The correct and appropriate person to attend the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee is the current chief executive of NHS Croydon.
"NHS London commissioned a forensic and independent investigation to get to the bottom of the issue, which took over six months to complete.
"This report was clear that mistakes had been made but found that this was not entirely the fault or responsibility of any individual and did not result in less money being spent on patients.
"We are confident that lessons have been learned from this investigation."