Investigation into NHS Grampian ‘mismanagement’
Audit Scotland contacted to investigate alleged mismanagement of dental grants by health board in grampian
NHS Grampian could be at the centre of an investigation into alleged mismanagement of dental grants after Aberdeen dentist Ross McLelland raised his concerns with Audit Scotland.
He is claiming that at least £1 million of grants awarded to dental practices in Grampian could be lost to the public purse due to mismanagement by the health board.
The principal of Waverley Dental Health Practice has been asking questions of NHS Grampian for more than three years after discovering a rise in new practices opening up in the region funded by the Scottish Dental Access Initiative (SDAI).
He said: “Grampian has the highest SDAI spending on new practices in Scotland. There have been legitimate concerns raised around multiple breaches of terms and conditions and the lack of scrutiny for many years, with a lack of action by NHS Grampian.
“In my view there is an air of mismanagement and collusion about the whole process in this region, with an attitude of ‘the means justifying the ends’. I believe it’s time an alternative authority had a close look at the process in Grampian in order to ensure full value to the public purse.”
An Audit Scotland spokeswoman said: “We have received correspondence relating to the Scottish Dental Access Initiative. We will consider the points raised by the correspondent and respond in due course.”
In July, the health board investigated five practices that received SDAI grants totalling in excess of half a million pounds for potential non-compliance.
A spokesman for NHS Grampian refused to comment on the specific allegations made by Mr McLelland, instead saying: “The SDAI Grant scheme is estimated to have led to about 115,000 patients being registered with a NHS dentist in Grampian.
“Seven out of 10 people in Grampian are now registered with a NHS dentist and registration has been consistently on the rise since 2007. This is a significant achievement given the historical challenges we faced and given the higher than average number of residents who are treated privately.”
An Audit Scotland spokeswoman said: “We understand that NHS Grampian is conducting an internal audit review of the use of Scottish Dental Access Initiative grants in its area, and is due to report findings to the health board’s audit committee in December. We will continue to monitor this matter and will consider the findings in due course.”
Audit Scotland has also asked the board to share the report from its external auditors Deloitte, in order that it can “inform our ongoing and future audit work”.