Chris Philp, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Croydon South, used the platform of a local debating society this week to call for greater accountability over the mysteriously vanishing £27 million of public cash from Croydon’s former NHS Primary Care Trust.
In the audience at Monday’s Coulsdon and Purley Debating Society was John Power, the retired army colonel who chaired the Croydon PCT’s Audit Committee. Power is now a non-executive of the Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and was the star witness at the joint inquiry by south-west London councils into the “mislaid” millions by the PCT. The PCT audit committee was chaired by Tory Croydon councillor David Fitze, but Croydon Labour’s leader Tony Newman was also on the PCT board, which was chaired by another Labour councillor, Toni Letts.
From the floor of the local debate, Power renewed his call for the former PCT chief executive Caroline Taylor and for the borough councillors who were on the PCT to testify to a re-opened inquiry. He received the backing of Philp.
“I think all three actually should come along and give an account of themselves as they all should be answerable to local people,” Philp said.
Philp was debating a motion against Andrew Pelling, the former Tory MP now a Town Hall election candidate for Labour. Pelling suggested that Taylor and Croydon’s councillors had probably been gagged by non-disclosure compromise agreements.
Such financial gagging orders were an element in the Stafford Hospital scandal and their use has been criticised by the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt.
Pelling said that the use of “funny accounting was motivated by a desire to protect services with insufficient funding for Croydon NHS services”.
One accounting practice that may have been used would see money “lent” overnight to a PCT by another NHS body for the purposes of “decorating” the annual accounts, hiding the financial black hole. The funds would then be “returned” the next day.
Pelling said that the investigation into the PCT’s finances had been compromised by its politicisation, accusing Croydon Council’s Tory leader, Mike Fisher, of “wanting to catch out the Labour leader Tony Newman and Labour’s councillor Letts and be willing to take the collateral damage of sacrificing fellow Tory David Fitze”.
Coming to Croydon
- STDLCC Screening: Museum Hours, Jan 13
- “Croydon Communities Consortium” meeting, Jan 14
- Norwood Society talk, Upper Norwood Library, Jan 16
- Croydon Ramblers, Chelsham walk, Jan 19
- STDLCC Screening: The East, Jan 20
- STDLCC Screening: Winter Nomads, Jan 27
- Coulsdon and Purley Debating Society, Feb 3
- Babylon at the Spread Eagle Theatre, Feb 4-6
- Steve Knightly at Stanley Halls: Feb 5
- Purley Swimathon: Feb 8 and 13
- Norwood Society talk, Upper Norwood Library, Feb 20
- Coulsdon and Purley Debating Society, Mar 3
- Norwood Society talk, Upper Norwood Library, Mar 20
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