Yesterday I asked Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, about his view on accountability of Croydon PCT over their financial mismanagement.
Gavin Barwell (Croydon Central) (Con):
What steps he is taking to increase accountability in the NHS?
The Secretary of State for Health (Mr Jeremy Hunt):
We have transformed accountability in the health system by setting up Healthwatch and introducing stronger local democratic accountability through health and wellbeing boards.
Gavin Barwell: Croydon PCT’s accounts for 2010-11 showed a £5.5 million surplus; it subsequently turned out to be a £23 million deficit. The former chief executive and two former finance officers have adamantly refused to give evidence to a scrutiny committee set up by councils in south-west London. Does the Secretary of State agree that that is unacceptable and that NHS managers must be held to account, and given that two of these individuals still work in the NHS, does he have the power to compel them to give evidence?
Mr Hunt: Accountability is extremely important. Local authorities can require members or employees of local health service commissioners to appear and answer questions, and NHS organisations and individuals should co-operate with that. I am extremely concerned by what my hon. Friend says. He knows that I have received a report on this from the joint overview and scrutiny committees for six south-west London boroughs, and I will be responding shortly.