Ministers ‘powerless’ to intervene in row

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AS NHS Lothian turned to its lawyers for help with Consort, the Scottish Government said it would not be getting involved in the dispute.

A spokeswoman said: “This is clearly not acceptable and NHS Lothian have assured us that disciplinary proceedings are now under way.

“The PFI contract is between the board and Consort – ministers have no contractual powers to intervene.

“However, we have been clear that we expect NHS Lothian to closely monitor Consort’s performance, issue fines where appropriate and make sure any problems are swiftly addressed.”

Sarah Boyack criticised the decision not to get involved.

The Labour MSP, below, said: “I think the Scottish Government shouldn’t just be washing their hands of this, they should be taking an interest.

“We need to know that the operating theatres can be in use, so the maintenance of them is absolutely crucial, this is fundamental to the operation of NHS Lothian.

“Patient safety is paramount and we need to have a review here of how it can be possible that such a basic error was made.

“We have a series of errors now from Consort so I think we do need a proper external investigation.”