THE chief executive and finance director of an NHS trust used health service cash in a "risky" venture to bring nurses in from overseas, a court heard yesterday.
Trevor Molton and John Miners set up NHS Professionals in a bid to ease a shortage of nurses across the service, without a proper business plan, a jury was told.
A consultant NHS investigator told Manchester Crown Court that the men, then executives at West Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service NHS Trust, embarked on a "speculative venture" to bring nurses in from the Philippines.
From the witness box, health service director David Young said: "It was novel, it was contentious and it was risky. It was well outside their normal business."
He said the business, which operated as a trading arm of the trust, had apparently been set up without proper planning or appropriate consultation with the trust's board of governors.
"I have seen no evidence of any proper documented business planning whatsoever," he said.
Chief executive Molton, 50, of Pickering, North Yorkshire, his wife Angela, 43, finance director Miners, 54, of Nailsea, near Bristol, and estate agent Paul Buckley, 35, of Horsforth, Leeds, are accused of conspiracy to defraud. All deny the charges.
The Crown alleges Fillipino nurses brought into the UK by NHS Professionals were housed by a business set up by Molton and Miners.
The nurses paid rent to the company, Accommodation For Yorkshire (A4Y), and the profits went to the company and the defendants, it is alleged. Neither Molton nor Miners told the trust's board of directors about their involvement in A4Y despite opportunities to do so, the court heard.
"Mr Molton and Mr Miners should have declared their intention to be directors in the company," said Mr Young.
The trial was adjourned.