Published: 17/04/2003, Volume II3, No. 5851 Page 8 9

The facilities director at a one-star hospital trust is on 'special leave' pending an internal inquiry into the way contracts are awarded.

Salford Royal Hospitals trust's Beth Taylor, a former police officer, was put on special leave last month while the trust investigates allegations understood to centre on failure to follow rules and protocols in the tendering for trust contracts.

A trust spokesperson would only confirm that 'a member of staff is on special leave pending an investigation'. They confirmed that the NHS counter-fraud service had been notified but said the police were not involved.

The trust this week refused to provide details of the firms with which it has contracts.

The inquiry is not the first time the trust's facilities management has been under the spotlight. Two senior staff were sacked after a fraud investigation in 1996 and were later jailed.