The newly-installed chairman of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay this week said he had found a “massive gulf” between clinicians and managers at the troubled foundation trust.
Sir David Henshaw was speaking for the first time since he was parachuted into the trust by regulator Monitor in February, amid damning reviews of its maternity services, management of outpatients’ appointments and governance.
Sir David said that since arriving at the trust he had been struck by the “massive gulf between the clinical leadership and managerial leadership” and the absence of any strategy for the organisation.
“The vision for the trust doesn’t really exist, there’s no sense of where it’s headed,” he said. “Candidly, the vision [was] ‘become an FT’ rather than anything else.”
One of his priorities was to address the gulf between clinicians and managers, which he believed was partly the cause of the care quality failures at the trust. “I think that’s led to stuff not happening,” he said. “I’ll put it as crude as that.”
If clinicians “don’t feel they’re being involved, included, accountable and responsible they’ll absent themselves”, he explained. “You look at any one part of this business and say who’s accountable here in terms of clinical leadership? You couldn’t find anybody.”
Sir David has also begun conversations with staff about “how they feel we should reconfigure services at our hospitals to best meet the needs of patients,” according to a statement released by the trust this week.