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McArthur brands NHS Orkney's Chief Exec's position "untenable"

June 9, 2020 3:00 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

In response to news that NHS Orkney Chief Executive Designate, Iain Stewart made a visit to Glasgow for personal reasons during the early stages of lockdown, Orkney's MSP Liam McArthur has called for Mr Stewart to go or be removed.

The revelation emerged at a media briefing from NHS Orkney this morning (Tuesday) and comes on the back of a public outcry over Mr Stewart's decision to travel back and forth between Orkney and his home in the Black Isle. The reaction to these arrangements prompted Mr Stewart to issue an apology in an 'open letter to the people of Orkney' a fortnight ago. The letter, however, made no mention of the earlier trip to Glasgow.

While the Scottish Government insists that Mr Stewart has operated within the rules, Mr McArthur believes this latest development will further undermine public trust and confidence in the Chief Executive Designate, leaving his position 'untenable'.

Commenting, Mr McArthur said:

"Iain Stewart's decision to travel back and forth between Orkney and his home in the Black Isle has caused widespread anger within the local community. At best, it appeared inadvisable given his role in leading NHS Orkney and its message for people to stay home and save lives.

"In response to the public outcry, Mr Stewart issued an apology in an 'open letter to the people of Orkney'. For whatever reason, however, he chose not to make any reference to the earlier trip to Glasgow.

"While the detail of the visit may rightly be a private matter, the fact that the trip took place is of public interest. Unfortunately, Mr Stewart's failure to be open in his open letter leaves his position compromised and untenable.

"The board and management of NHS Orkney have more than enough on their plate at present. It is time to draw a line under this sorry episode, but that can only now happen with the departure of Mr Stewart."