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Whistleblowing claims lead trust to suspend senior staff


A leading nurse has been brought in to assist Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust after its chief executive and three other managers were suspended in the wake of whistleblowing complaints.

The trust announced today that chief executive Jonathan Parry alongside chief operating officer Sheilah Finnegan, human resources director Sharon Partington and deputy director of performance Richard McCarthy had been “excluded” from work.

“In response to the three whistleblowing complaints and the subsequent independent external investigation… it has been necessary to exclude these three senior executives and one other employee”

Sue Musson

The move follows an independent external investigation into three separate whistleblowing complaints. However, the trust stressed these issues were not related to patient care or safety.

The exclusions will remain in place pending the results of an internal investigation.

The decision to exclude the four members of staff was agreed unanimously by trust chair Sue Musson and the six non-executive directors on its board, with support from the NHS Trust Development Authority.

“In response to the three whistleblowing complaints made to the trust and the subsequent independent external investigation by the Good Governance Institute, it has been necessary to exclude these three senior executives and one other employee,” said Ms Musson in a statement.

“I want to stress to our patients, their families and the public that no aspect of the complaints, the investigation that has taken place and the exclusion of the four employees are related to issues of patient care or patient safety,” she added.

Ann Marr, chief executive of St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospital Trust has stepped in to lead the trust on an interim basis.

Gaynor Hales, associate director of nursing at the NHS Trust Development Authority, has also been brought in to help.

NHS Trust Development Authority

Gaynor Hales

“Ann will be providing leadership within the trust in the accountable officer role on an interim basis,” said the statement.

“Gaynor will be supporting Ann in this role, overseeing a variety of functions including that of chief operating officer, again on an interim basis.”

Both will be continuing in their current roles while supporting the trust, the statement confirmed. Experienced health and local government professional Sheila Samuels will cover the HR function.

A trust spokeswoman told Nursing Times she could not say any more about the issues being investigated or discuss whether those making complaints about whistleblowing included nursing staff.

Simon Featherstone, the trust’s director of nursing, quality and risk, remains in post.


Readers' comments (3)

  • More whistleblowing is definitely needed throughout the UK, especially if it involves senior and executive members of NHS boards! These 'managers' need to face the reality that they will no longer be protected or that issues will be covered up and made to go away! Well done on those brave enough to go ahead with it!

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  • michael stone

    So what were the complaints about ?

    The only two things which immediately come to mind, are 'bad financial practice' or bad staff management (which presumably equates to 'bullying staff').

    It will be interesting, if more details emerge for this one.

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  • whistle blowing can have devastating effects upon the person who does this. Bullying and harassment and indeed, may lead to the career and character of the whistle blower being shattered. More whistle blowing is needed but those involved can pull ranks together and still get away with it. Many nurses do not realise that the NMC deals with nursing issues but not employment law and the two can go together in whistle blowing. Clever employers may well know the loops holes to get away with things. Candour is important but not likely to be forthcoming. So whistle blowers are also likely to be few and far between.

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