AN NHS executive has been suspended for allegedly promoting his mistress to a high-paid job within his department, The Herald can reveal.

Professor Scott McLean, chief operations officer at NHS Fife, is being investigated over claims that Shelley Marshall was recruited to a secondment post within the Acute Services Division at a time when the pair were having a secret love affair.

Read more: NHS Fife boss suspended amid misconduct probe 

Ms Marshall, a 38-year-old mother-of-two, was promoted from the position of management accountant at NHS Fife to Performance Management Coordinator in August 2015, a job which is said to have carried a “substantial” pay rise.

Her appointment is said to have angered colleagues who felt snubbed by her promotion.


(Pic: Scott McLean, far left, with Shona Robison during a tour of the Victoria Infirmary in NHS Fife)

The Herald previously revealed that Mr McLean, 42, who has been COO in charge of Acute Services since 2015, had been suspended on full pay in November 2017 pending the outcome of a probe into alleged misconduct. He remains on gardening leave.

A social media profile on the website, LinkedIn, posted by Ms Marshall states that the purpose of her role - which began as a six-month secondment - is to “facilitate performance reporting on specific areas within the Acute Services Division” and “enable the Chief Operating Officer to measure service performance against agreed standards”.

Read more: NHS Fife boss suspended amid misconduct probe

The Herald understands that the pair first struck up a romantic relationship while both were studying for degrees in business administration.

Both were married at the time, but Mr McLean is understood to have left his wife last year and Ms Marshall - whose married name was Shelley Dickson - also split from her husband last summer.

The reason for Mr McLean’s four-month absence has never been disclosed to members of the NHS Fife board, who were simply told he was on long-term leave.

The post of chief operating officer is being filled in the interim by Jann Gardner, NHS Fife’s director of planning and strategic partnerships.

The health board is scheduled to hold its next public meeting on March 14.

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Mr McLean, who is an honorary professor at the University of St Andrews’ School of Medicine, joined NHS Fife in 2013, initially as the Executive Director of Nursing. He was subsequently promoted to COO (Acute Services) in 2015, a post which carries a salary of between £74,000 and £100,000.

Mr McLean is a qualified nurse who studied at the University of Abertay in Dundee, graduating in 1995.

He went on to work as a nurse at the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy, Fife, and then for NHS Lothian.

In 2006, while employed as a senior cardiology nurse at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, he was presented with a British Heart Foundation ‘Excellence Award’ for his role in pioneering a lifesaving scheme which trained paramedics to administer clot-busting drugs to heart attack patients before they were admitted to hospital.

He went on to work in Ireland and then as the Director of Nursing and Governance for Barts Health NHS Trust in London, before returning to NHS Fife.

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Both Mr McLean and Ms Marshall were approached for comment, but neither responded.

A spokesman for NHS Fife said details of the investigation were confidential and they could not comment on individual staff matters.

Barbara Anne Nelson, the health board's director of workforce, previously said: “NHS Fife has a legal responsibility to protect the privacy of its employees, and is therefore unable to comment on matters relating to individual staff members, past or present.”

There have been a number of shake-ups at senior level in NHS Fife in recent years. Former chief executive John Wilson stepped down due to ill health in October 2014, and was temporarily replaced by Brian Montgomery.

However, Dr Montgomery also took early retirement in 2015 and since June 2015 the post of chief executive has been held by Paul Hawkins, previously chief operating officer at Hywel Dda University Health Board in Wales.