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Last Updated: Monday, 17 July 2006, 11:36 GMT 12:36 UK
Health bosses face sacking call
Western Isles Hospital aerial view
Alasdair Morrison praised frontline hospital and health staff
A MSP has called on Health Minister Andy Kerr to sack Western Isles Health Board chiefs after outspoken comments by their new communications director.

John MacLeod criticised Alasdair Morrison and other isles' politicians in a private paper, which was leaked.

The MSP said the document was further evidence of problems with the board.

Dr John Smith, acting chief executive, said changing the top team would not solve the problems faced by the health service in the Western Isles.

Mr Morrison, Labour MSP for the Western Isles, has called for a wholesale clearout of the board's management.

He named the chairman, chief executive and medical director as those who should be removed.

Mr Morrison added that others may be so closely connected to what he described as a "discredited and dysfunctional" team that they should also be dismissed.

"Completely unreliable"

He praised frontline staff but said that private documents he has forwarded to Mr Kerr proved that the board's management style was "sinister, underhand and completely unreliable".

Dr Smith said he was not surprised that the MSP was annoyed and upset by what Mr MacLeod had written about him in a 13-page confidential document, which was leaked last week.

In a statement, he added: "Mr Morrison's acknowledgement that frontline services are first class indicates that we are doing our job well he said in spite of the political fallout."

Jim Mather, a Nationalist MSP for the Highlands and Islands, said an independent inquiry should be held into the administration of the board.

He said: "There is no doubt in my mind that the current regime has done a poor job and in the process has lost many good people and the support of many others."

Mr Mather said an inquiry should involve frontline staff.

He added: "The record will show that I have continually raised concerns with the health minister and with his predecessor about the conduct of the senior management of NHS Western Isles."

Damaging leaks

Last week, the board's new communications director said even PR consultant Max Clifford could not improve the board's image if damaging leaks continued.

Newspaper columnist Mr MacLeod made the comment after a confidential paper he wrote to land his new job was leaked to the media.

It included criticism of local politicians and said mothers-to-be expected a "pain-free" labour.

Mr MacLeod said the views were his own and not those of the board.

Shortly after writing the 13-page paper, Mr MacLeod was offered the press office job.

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