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The Christie Foundation Trust

Whistleblowing review finds no evidence of 'serious failings' at trust

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A review into whistleblowing concerns at a North West cancer trust has found “no evidence” of serious failings but highlighted areas in need of improvement.

The Christie Foundation Trust was investigated by Monitor and the Care Quality Commission after former staff members claimed its culture inhibited staff from highlighting problems with the senior team.

The Manchester trust was visited by a joint team from the two regulators in July.

Miranda Carter, Monitor’s director of provider appraisal, said the review concluded there was no evidence of “serious failings of governance or culture at the trust”.

However, according to their report, published today, the regulators did find that some staff felt “disengaged and unheard” by senior managers.

They were also informed about some “issues around the ability to raise concerns”, although this was mainly related to staff behaviours rather than patient safety concerns.

The regulators examined governance at The Christie. The trust’s board has experienced considerable turmoil this year, with chief executive Caroline Shaw resigning following a long period of suspension.

Caroline ShawCaroline Shaw

Two non-executive directors have also stepped down because they were “unhappy” with the way the this was handled.

The regulators said it was “perhaps understandable” that against this backdrop “the degree of challenge we expect to be provided by a board was not fully evident”.

However they said the board did not seem to have an “inquisitive culture in which information was challenged”.

Long-standing issues with the management of the estates and facilities division also did not appear to have been addressed.

The regulators have made a number of recommendations, including that the trust should improve staff engagement and review its processes for measuring waiting times in its outpatient department.

Ann Ford, head of hospital inspections at CQC, said: “We found evidence of a strong commitment to delivering good outcomes for patients at The Christie, but also identified some concerning issues regarding team leadership that the trust must address.”

A spokesman for the trust said: “The regulators review has identified areas where improvements to governance arrangements need to be made. We have already commenced work in these areas and we will continue this.

“Our aim is to have the very best governance in place for our leading cancer centre,” he said.

Monitor also announced today that formal regulatory action at the trust has now ended.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • michael stone

    'Miranda Carter, Monitor’s director of provider appraisal, said the review concluded there was no evidence of “serious failings of governance or culture at the trust”.

    However, according to their report, published today, the regulators did find that some staff felt “disengaged and unheard” by senior managers.'

    There are always questions, of what is meant by 'evidence': most regulators still seem to place a lot of stress on 'paperwork', but 'culture' isn't necessarily in line with [overt] paper-policy.

    If the staff were in reality being 'discouraged' from raising concerns, or their concerns were being 'ignored/downplayed', that might not be easy to see from policies, etc, but that would be the real-world reality of the situation.

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