Senior health service managers repeatedly broke NHS pay regulations to award themselves and colleagues thousands of pounds to which they were not entitled, an inquiry has found.

Managers at Tayside health board handed themselves and 50 other staff unauthorised payments over two years worth£113,000, it concludes.

They broke NHS pay regulations, 'compromised the principles of financial governance, ' and fed incorrect information to board colleagues.

But the procurator fiscal for Dundee said there were no plans to bring criminal proceedings.

The inquiry, under Borders health board chair David Kilshaw, was set up last October after a routine audit by accountants Henderson Loggie uncovered concerns about redundancy payments, performance-related pay and salaries.

Its report says a small group of the most senior officers consistently 'exceeded their delegated authority' and took decisions from which they and their peers stood to benefit personally.

The report says that 'there are, or would have been, prima facie grounds to invoke disciplinary procedures' against them.

But only one of four managers named - Mr Young - is still employed by the health board (see box). He has been asked to attend a disciplinary hearing.

The board says that with the exception of the four managers, all staff in receipt of overpayments 'accepted these payments in ignorance of the facts and consequences.'

The health board is to begin talks with staff to recover the money. The inquiry team heard evidence of 'excessive secrecy, a lack of openness, an unprofessional management style, breach of trust, and failure to comply with regulations governing the pay of senior managers'.

Tayside health board said it had accepted all the report's recommendations and had implemented a 'broad and far-reaching range of reforms'.