The chief executive designate of Bart's and the London trust, heavily criticised in the longawaited report on the financial problems at Tayside, made an 11th-hour bid to clear his name, it has emerged.

Paul White, chief executive of Tayside University Hospitals, was one of several senior managers singled out in a report published last week by the Scottish Parliament's audit committee.

The report said it was 'astonishing' that officials in the new trust, formed in 1999, were not aware of looming financial deficits. In the event, Tayside ran up a deficit of£10m in its first year because of inherited budget problems.

Mr White had maintained in evidence to the committee that he had not known about significant financial problems before taking over as chief executive in April 1999.

But this was disputed by the financial director of the former Dundee Teaching Hospitals, Philip Colville, who told the committee that fears of budget problems were in the public domain.

This week, it emerged that the committee had been sent correspondence relating to the handover of the trust, backing Mr White.

But the committee decided not to consider as evidence a letter from Howard Waldner, then acting chief executive of Dundee Teaching Hospitals, to Mr White.

The letter said: 'It is my view that the current board of Dundee Teaching Hospitals will be transferring the existing trust facilities to the new Tayside University trust in good health and with no significant financial problems other than the ongoing revenue and service pressures associated with any new site.'

In a letter to the committee, Mr White said that to ignore this evidence - found when he was clearing his office - would lead to a 'misrepresentation of the facts'.

However, Andrew Welsh, convener of the audit committee, told HSJ he thought the late evidence was a 'red herring'.

'We knew there was contradictory evidence. This was not new and to take it into consideration would have meant reopening the whole inquiry and speaking to the other party involved.'

Mr White would not comment on the case as he had been told the only comments would be made by Peter Bates, Tayside health board chair. But he is understood to be aggrieved by the committee's conclusions.

The report said 'informal' suggestions of possible budget problems should have been taken more seriously by Mr White, as well as by Sir William Stewart, then trust chair, and by Geoff Scaife, then chief executive of the NHS in Scotland.

Barts and the London chair Martin Vandersteen has stressed that the trust has full confidence in Mr White's 'managerial competence and integrity' and is looking forward to him joining in September.

Fightback: Stoke Mandeville chief responds to suspension The chief executive of Stoke Mandeville trust, suspended after investigations into waiting-list irregularities, is to rebut the allegations.

Sue Nicholls had been in post just a few weeks when the waiting list problems came to light and was initially transferred to Buckinghamshire health authority before being suspended, along with two other managers, as investigations continue into 131 breeches of the 18-month limit.

A statement released through her solicitors said: 'She will deny any allegations that she may have been personally responsible for alleged deficiencies referred to in the recent Audit Commission report into waiting-list management at the hospital.'