The chair of Scotland's most troubled health body, NHS Tayside, has denied he was put under pressure to act over individuals named in a damning report on the area's health services.

Peter Bates also criticised the media for using 'macho' terminology, such as 'heads will roll' and 'people will be hung out to dry' throughout the ongoing investigations into budget problems at Tayside University Hospitals trust.

But as HSJ went to press, Tim Brett, the chief executive of Tayside Health Board, the body that becomes NHS Tayside in October, was considering his future after an apparent vote of no confidence by the board.

Mr Brett was one of four men mentioned in a report by the Scottish Parliament's Audit Committee, which found there was a lack of governance and common purpose in the health trusts and board in Tayside.

His role was discussed in private at a board meeting last week, which he did not attend as he was on holiday. But the board's 'unanimous decision' was communicated to him by Mr Bates following the meeting.

Though he is not due back from holiday until Monday, Mr Brett was expected to respond to the board's decision by this week.

A source close to Mr Brett told HSJ there was some concern in the service that senior managers were being scapegoated for political ends. The source said that as Mr Brett was the only manager still there, he was left to take the flak and pay the ultimate price.

'I thought we were supposed to be moving away from a blame culture but it seems as though at least one senior manager will have his career ruined for what seems to be political reasons, ' said the source.

'This is bound to make other managers wonder if they want the top jobs if they are to face such criticism for what can hardly be called a hanging offence.'

Mr Bates refused to discuss Mr Brett, saying all employees had the right to privacy and dignity.

But he added: 'I say categorically that no pressure of any kind has been brought to bear on me by anybody to act in one way or another over this issue. The board has to take account of public feeling, but what we need in public services is good governance, not soundbite management.

'I reject wholeheartedly the culture of macho terminology, but think we need a more measured and thoughtful approach.'

Of the four men named in the report, Paul White, the former chief executive of TUHT, has moved to the top job in Barts, Geoff Scaife, former chief executive of the NHS in Scotland, is now leading Birmingham Health Authority and Sir William Stewart resigned as board chair last year.

Mr Bates, the board's fifth chair in five years, told HSJ there would be no overnight solutions to the problems in Tayside, where the acute trust's deficit is expected to reach more than£20m by the end of this financial year.