Health Board vice-chair ‘twice’ in isles

Angus McCormack quit the Health Board over Ingram appointment.Angus McCormack quit the Health Board over Ingram appointment.
Angus McCormack quit the Health Board over Ingram appointment.
The new vice-chairman of the Western Isles NHS Board has set foot in the Western Isles just twice since being appointed, it has been admitted through a Freedom of Information request.

The appointment of Tim Ingram – a health and safety consultant who divides his time between Newcastle and Aberdeen – has already led to the resignation of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s representative on the Board, Angus McCormack.

Already a controversial appointee to the Health Board due to his complete lack of connection to the islands – other than another Scottish Government appointment to the board of David MacBrayne Ltd – Mr Ingram’s elevation to the Health Board vice-chairmanship was greeted with astonishment.

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When the Gazette, at that point, asked the Health Board to say how often Mr Ingram had visited the islands since being appointed in April 2021, they chose to treat this as a Freedom of Information request and replied this week.

The reply stated: “Mr Ingram visited the island on the19th to the 21st of June 2022 and then again on the 27th to the 28th of September 2022. Further visits are planned”. The fact the reply refers to “the island” (singular) suggests that his exposure was limited to Lewis.

On the basis of that experience, Mr Ingram has not only been made vice-chairman of the Western Isles NHS Board but also had his appointment extended to 2028 by Ministers.

Another Scottish Government random appointees, Jocelyn McConnachie, believed to reside in West Sussex, has visited the island just once. Her appointment has been extended to 2024. The responses stated that the Health Board “prohibited non-essential travel” during 2020 and 2021.

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Mr McCormack has written to Health Secretary Humza Yousaf in protest against the exclusion of local applicants. He wrote: “I served on the WIHB for ten years when all members were local. We made a good job of running the board despite the serious constraints that are placed on boards by the Scottish Government. I would argue that local knowledge is essential to the successful management of the Western Isles NHS”.