Published: 20/06/2002, Volume II2, No.5810 Page 8 9

The former chief executive of a Scottish health board, who fell on his sword following an inquiry into debts ran up by one of its local trusts, has been appointed to a top NHS management post.

Tim Brett, who many believe was scapegoated after the investigation into health services in Tayside, is to head the Scottish Centre for Infection and Environmental Health.

Last year, sources close to Mr Brett reported that he had been put under pressure to resign from his position as chief executive of Tayside health board after a report from the Scottish Parliament's audit committee.

The report was critical of communication between the health board and Tayside University Hospitals trust as the trust accumulated huge debts, which by the end of March 2001 had hit£15.9m.

Mr Brett, who had previously headed the acute trust, was the only manager named in the report who was still in post. The others, including Paul White, the acute trust chief executive, who is now chief executive of Barts and the London trust, had all left for other jobs.

When Mr Brett resigned last September, the Institute of Healthcare Management pointed out that his career had been 'exemplary' and that the NHS could not afford to lose good managers.

Under NHS contractual conditions, Mr Brett, who is in his early 50s, was given six months on full pay to find another job. He was recruited to the new post just before the six-month period ran out at the end of May. His new appointment is unusual, in that the director of SCIEH, part of the Common Services Agency of NHS Scotland, has historically been a doctor.

Mr Brett said: 'I am pleased to be able to continue my lifelong contribution to the NHS as I am sure my experience and background in acute hospitals can bring much to the real challenges facing the SCIEH. Acquired infections and cleanliness are obviously top priorities. I look forward to working with my clinical colleagues.'

Institute of Healthcare management Scottish secretary Donald McNeill welcomed the appointment.

He said: 'I am delighted that NHS Scotland is able to benefit from Tim Brett's considerable experience.'

Mr Brett takes up his new post in July.