The chief nurse of the trust at the centre of the scandal over poor maternity care and a Care Quality Commission cover up is leaving under a compromise agreement, Nursing Times has learnt.
Under the terms of the agreement, Jackie Holt will leave University Hospitals Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust on secondment to another North West trust for 12 months.
Her employment will be terminated by Morecambe Bay at the end of the period. The Cumbrian trust will continue to pay her full salary during the secondment, which was between £100,000 and £105,000 in 2011-12, according to the latest publicly available figures.
During her secondment at Warrington and Halton Hospitals Foundation Trust she will be working on a specific project around workforce skills and future ways of working.
Ms Holt, who has worked as a nurse in the NHS since 1982, has been in post at Morecambe Bay for five years.
She is the only member of the previous executive team still working at the troubled trust, which has come under scrutiny following a number of infant and maternal deaths at Furness General Hospital’s maternity unit between 2004 and 2008.
An independent inquiry into the events surrounding the deaths is due to begin once an ongoing police investigation has been completed.
Trust chair John Cowdall insisted there were no “’gagging’ or confidentiality clauses” in the compromise agreement, which would prevent Ms Holt talking about the trust.
He said: “This is a good opportunity for Jackie to work with other NHS organisations and share her professional management and nurse experience and commitment to improving patient care.”
Trust chief executive Jackie Daniel said Ms Holt had “stepped down” to “take up a new challenge”. She added: “I would like to thank Jackie for her time with the trust and wish her well for the future. Jackie was an instrumental part of the trust successfully achieving foundation status in 2010.”
Questions have since been raised over whether the trust should have been granted the increased impendence that goes with foundation status due to concerns about the Furness maternity unit.
A report published by the CQC last week concluded that the trust was secretive and did not always share information with the regulator, including concealing a highly critical report of its maternity services.
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