Immigration row boss lands top health post

PUBLISHED: 18:15 22 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:57 12 August 2010

A NON-EXECUTIVE director appointed by a cash-strapped hospital trust was allegedly involved in a major Home Office scandal.

A NON-EXECUTIVE director appointed by a cash-strapped hospital trust was allegedly involved in a major Home Office scandal.

Christina Parry was employed by Bromley Hospitals NHS Trust in September to scrutinise the organisation's performance and strategy.

But in 2003, while working as a senior advisor in the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND), she authorised a policy to let thousands of unchecked immigrants in to the UK in an attempt to clear a massive backlog.

The controversial BRACE (Backlog Reduction Accelerated Clearance Exercise) was a major factor in the resignation of the then Immigration Minister Beverley Hughes.

Secretary of Bromley Community Care Protection Group, Sue Sulis, said: "I am very worried. Bromley patients have been very badly let down by none-executive directors in the past. We have had enough of nodding donkeys.

"The duty of non-executive directors is to represent the public interest, scrutinise, and hold the Executive to account, something that has been sadly lacking.

"We are looking for people with a proven history of commitment and interest in the NHS who can demonstrate personal integrity and ensure proper governance of the Trust."

The Home Office scandal of 2003 was leaked by a memo, passed anonymously to a national newspaper by a whistle-blower, and claimed no inquiries were be made on thousands of applications to enter or settle in Britain.

It allegedly read: "As there are a large number of applications that are over three months old waiting to be decided, it has been agreed at ministerial level that an enhanced procedure should be undertaken to clear these as quickly as possible.

"Christina Parry has instructed that all applications - as far as possible - over three months old should be granted unless the information available on file is such that it can properly and defensibly support a refusal. Where a case will result in a refusal, the case must be cleared by a senior caseworker. No further inquiries should be made."

Ms Parry refused to be interviewed by the Times but a spokesman for Bromley NHS Trust said: "Christina Parry was managed migration operations director at the IND from 2003 to 2007. We're not commenting on what happened there during that time."

The Trust has also employed Frank Toop, a qualified accountant who has worked at City University London for 27 years.

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