NHS bosses slammed for attending golf
events and exclusive dinners courtesy
of benefits axemen Atos
21 Oct 2012 00:01
NHS Scotland executives have been accepting lavish
invitations from Atos, despite the serious concerns
surrounding the firm's treatment of the sick and disabled.
THE benefits axemen of Atos are
schmoozing NHS bosses with lavish
Atos, widely criticised for their handling
of Scots’ disability benefit assessments,
have just subcontracted much of the
work to NHS agency Salus in a deal
And the Sunday Mail can reveal that
health service executives have been
entertained at golf events and exclusive
dinners by Atos Healthcare’s parent
Labour MP Tom Greatrex, a strong critic
of Atos, said it was “disappointing” that
NHS bosses had chosen to accept
hospitality from Atos Origin.
The boss of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has been a guest of Atos twice.
Chief executive Robert Calderwood accepted a place at January’s Glasgow Lord
Provost’s Charity Burns Supper, a black tie bash in the Hilton Hotel.
Calderwood, who earns £165,000, also enjoyed a round of golf and dinner courtesy
of Atos at De Vere Slaley Hall in Northumberland in June 2009.
Athlete Steve Cram hosted the event. Calderwood said in his register of interests
that he took leave to attend and paid his own travel costs.
The £145,000-a-year chief executive of NHS Grampian, Richard Carey, enjoyed a
meal courtesy of Atos Origin at the Open golf at St Andrews in 2010. He said in his
list of interests that the meal was worth less than £50, he paid for his own golf
ticket and took the day off as leave.
We can also reveal that Atos Origin have given financial backing to the Institute of
Healthcare Management Scotland, who describe themselves as “the leading
professional body for health care managers”.
IHM Scotland’s secretary, Martin Hill, is also on the board of NHS 24.
Hill’s register of interests says the institute “occasionally receives financial
support for educational activities from businesses, including BT and ATOS Origin”.
Greatrex, MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, called for an investigation by the
He said: “It is disappointing that NHS Scotland executives thought it acceptable to
attend golf dinners courtesy of Atos, at a time when there are serious concerns
about the firm’s treatment of the sick and disabled in Scotland.
“Questions must also be asked about how appropriate it is for Atos representatives
and those receiving money from Atos to sit on NHS Scotland boards.
“Given the commercial relationship between Atos and NHS Scotland, the
willingness of some health chiefs to accept Atos hospitality is of concern. People
will question whether Atos and senior NHS Scotland figures have become too
Greatrex also criticised an invitation to Gavin Thomson, senior vice-president of
Atos International in Scotland, to attend the opening of Alex Salmond’s Scotland
House – set up in London during the Olympics to attract investors to Scotland.
He said: “Whilst the SNP make a big song and dance about criticising Atos in
public, Alex Salmond and his ministers are only too happy to wine and dine Atos
fat-cats in private at the taxpayer’s expense.”
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said Calderwood had spent his own money to help
charities at both events where he was an Atos guest.
NHS Grampian said their staff “conform to the highest standards required of
Martin Hill said IHM Scotland’s education programmes received funding from a
number of sources, and his work there was “quite separate” from his role at NHS
The Scottish Government said all NHS staff were bound by rules on gifts and
hospitality, which health boards had to make sure were obeyed. Atos said they
used hospitality “transparently and with the utmost integrity”.