EXCLUSIVE : And the new Chairman of Wirral University Teaching Hospital is…

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As instructed by scary NHS Chief Executive Janelle Holmes we are ‘cascading’ the news that Sir David Henshaw has been appointed as the Chairman of Wirral University Teaching Hospital (WUTH).

Well I never! What a surprise! Knock us down with a feather! Who’d a thunk? etc;etc;

Of course this announcement will come as no surprise to Wirral Leaks readers who have chronicled the Henshaw ascendancy since he was controversially appointed as Interim Chair  in March 2018 :

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Now nearly a year later and after a ‘robust process’ (no laughing at the back) we provide a reminder as to why we think this appointment may not be the right one for a beleaguered organisation plagued with allegations of bullying .

Read our back catalogue of Sir David Henshaw stories and what was going on the behind the screens that led to his appointment as Chairman at WUTH  here

Wirral University Teaching Hospital : Imagine…there’s still no announcement on appointment of Chairman

WUTH

Following on from our Ruthless WUTH post there was the inevitable Wirral Globe headline story which read 400 new parking spaces to be created at Arrowe Park Hospital after Globe campaign . Although it must be said that 400 new car parking spaces doesn’t necessarily mean that car parking charges for nurses at Wirral University Teaching Hospital (WUTH) sites will cease.  But hey! any excuse to publish  a letter sent to Birkenhead MP Frank Field – jointly signed by interim chairman Sir David ‘Diddy’ Henshaw and CEO Janelle Holmes.

Meanwhile we have reason to believe that there are bigger issues affecting WUTH in general and Henshaw and Holmes in particular as a well placed source writes :

Wirral Leaks of 10/12/18 says the announcement of new WUTH chair imminent
This is now at least 15 days overdue and there is limited intel only.
It seems the only applicant for the post has been interviewed the process is stalled at the governors. None of whom will give any more away – for real!

You may recall when former staff nurse Janelle Holmes CEO-bulldoze-through-fest stalled – Sir David Henshaw attended, met the governors to put them right. He’s a candidate this time so there are barriers that – even a rainmaker like him -cannot be circumvented so he can’t repeating his best and only trick – the Henshaw hardline.
It seems he also lacks  insight to now take the hint and withdraw his application in a dignified manner – suppose when the good Lord gives one the hide of a rhinoceros it’s there to be used.

Sir Dave’s track record is of some latter day Red Adair – called in when things boil over to put the lid back – obviously stifling any inconvenient discussion. Then like some mountebank he leaves town before the consequences of the quick-fix become evident.
The CSA went into melt down after this approach.
At St George’s NHS Trust; once he left the problems remained.
It only required matters to enter the real world when a St. George’s surgeon challenged the regimes legitimacy in court and won for the folly of Sir Dave’s only-trick to be exposed.
WUTH has a long-enduring, deeply dysfunctional culture. The directors (he has chaired for 9 months) wilfully fail to either recognise or address this.
Industrial psychologists ought to be highly visible. No really industrial psychologists ought to be on every corridor corner and tasked with re-introducing a fair culture – no sign yet!
What has likely changed at WUTH is jeopardy- I guess (and I don’t know) that the governors have woken up to realities. The execs have for years spoon-fed pap to the governors and have cowed the non-execs. One NED (Non -Executive Director) memorably told BMA (British Medical Association) reps they would never challenge an exec – despite that being in the Non-Exec’s job description.
Simply put – in 1 year execs have put 15% of the consultants out-of action [5% suspended, 10% now work elsewhere] it’s a simple calculation: if WUTH carry on like this there will be no senior doctors left.
This ought to be clear to Sir Dave – the execs don’t seem to have got the memo – not sure about the non- execs.
Stand by for the palace revolution; if the governors have  initiative – and it’s only  exercise of their  will – the executive and non-executives will become administrators held to account by the governors.
The remuneration committee that doubled executive salaries may be reconvened – CEO Janelle Holmes earned between £300 – 305,000 (including benefits) last year; yet to hear what she got when she was promoted. The governors may – choose to pay execs for what they do and not the multiples of clinician’s salary to show who’s boss.

You may say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one…

 

Ruthless WUTH

Diddymen

Whilst Frank Field continues his relentless pursuit of headlines as an Independent Labour MP it was inevitable that he would revisit the issue of nurses being charged to park at local hospitals especially as he had a bit of time on his hands from not publicly supporting the Cammell Laird strike. Read more:  MP’s message for hospital boss: ‘What are you doing about parking for our nurses?’

We can get with the campaign to stop nurses being charged for parking (why is this even still a thing?) but might we suggest there are more pressing cultural issues that Field may want to discuss with  WUTH’s latest CEO Janelle Holmes.

You may remember that we reported the appointment of Sir David ‘Diddy’ Henshaw as the interim Chair of WUTH  in our reports Marmalizing the Bullies : St Frank or Sir Diddy?  and WUTH – Carr Crash OUT, Sir Diddy IN

After receiving the following  tip off last month we were anticipating that the  new Chairman of Wirral University Teaching Hospital (WUTH) would have been announced by now

Sirs
I write to let you know:
WUTH will interview and appoint its next chairman “by the end of this month”
There is only one applicant; despite advertisement in The Sunday Times & elsewhere; Sir David Henshaw
2 points arise:
If there is no University of Wirral – how can there be a Wirral University teaching hospital ?

Will god continue to help and save us all in the face of this abomination?

To recap you may also recall that on 21/12/2017 Health Service Journal published “Trust Directors blew the whistle over chief executive”, containing excerpts from the record of the minutes of a meeting held with National Health Service Improvement (NHSI) North medical director Vince Connelly.
WUTH Executive Directors Susan Gilby, David Jago and Janelle Holmes raised concerns with CEO David Allison – precipitating his resignation, followed by Michael  Carr with Dr Gilby leaving soon after in unusual circumstances to be Medical Director of Chester /CEO.
NHS England investigated the complaints and found there to be no substance to any of them in a report titled Investigation Report of NHS Improvement re: Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – Issues Arising from Senior Staff Concerns Reported in Late 2017.

So having helped create a CEO vacancy and despite concerns about allegations of bullying Holmes then applied for the post. A WUTH insider tells us that whilst the WUTH website [at that time] said that Holmes as  Chief Operating Officer had a “focus of improving patient quality and safety” apparently nothing annoyed her more than when senior medical staff highlighted clinical risks or incidents. Those staff then found themselves subject to the type of processes uncovered by a Freedom of Information request published by Wirral Leaks. Our source tells us :

Executives use ‘Maintaining High Professional Standards’ (MHPS) as a disciplinary measure and try to say individual has ‘volunteered’. You may not know but at this time WUTH was invoking those processes on at least 3% of senior medical staff – this rate is about 40 times national average.

11 of 234 is very nearly 5% of the consultant staff 1 in 20 – none were picked up by appraisal process.10 of consultants left unexpectedly in same timeframe…It’s bullying.These processes include absolute confidentiality so consultants who manage to keep their job also know to keep schtum about Janelle Holmes.10% of consultants left in a hurry during this time.

 

Page 131 of the following document provides details of 11 of the 234 senior medical staff at the Trust who were subject to  an MHPS investigation. https://www.wuth.nhs.uk/media/10550/public-board-of-directors-28112018.pdf

Consequently concerns were raised about the possibility that Janelle Holmes might get the CEO job – and several directors and Non Executive Directors were formally put on notice that she was not a ‘fit and proper person’ to hold any director position – these same people were on her interview panel.
Luckily for Holmes so was Sir David Henshaw and her old boss at Salford Sir David Dalton.
The result was not announced because WUTH Council of Governors declined to ratify it. Staff groups made representation to The Governors with clinicians  submitting this letter :

Discussed several concerns
The advert for the position specified a preference for an experienced CEO [this was not JH]
One of the candidates has been identified in press leaks as one of three executives acting against the previous post-holder of CEO……we would be concerned about the apparent probity of appointing a candidate identified as seeking the investigation and termination of the previous post-holder.
Thirdly, the Trust is expecting a CQC report on, among other things, how well led the organisation is under the recent leadership. We would counsel a delay in any ratification of appointment of any current executive manager to CEO until July’s report is available.
We are concerned that promotion of a current executive board member under this level of uncertainty involves the Trust in unnecessary risk.We were disappointed that there was not any apparent clinical involvement in the appointment, beyond the legal minimum.
After recent consultant staff surveys highlighted a closed culture and lack of clinical involvement, we find this process unfortunate.
We would be grateful if you might raise these concerns with your fellow governors and the chairman at the meeting of 20th June, and have no concerns with your sharing this letter with them.

We understand Sir David ‘Diddy’ Henshaw attended The Council of Governors meeting on 20/6/18 and explained to them that they were simply too late in raising any objection and were doing so through the wrong channels.
It is anticipated that Janelle Holmes may not be or was not on Sir Diddy’s appointment board – as he is the only candidate this probably isn’t necessary.
Nor will any clinician – given how Sir Diddy acted with another high profile whistleblower  – https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2293567/This-brilliant-surgeon-work-NHS-Is-blew-whistle-child-deaths-leading-hospital.html – it is doubtful they would be so unwise as to say anything…

Advent Farewell 22 : WUTH – less this Christmas

There’s been a strangely muted response in the local press to the ‘stepping down’  of Wirral University Teaching Hospital Foundation (WUTH) Foundation Trust CEO David Allison . Allison doesn’t even get a namecheck in the Wirral Globe headline about his sudden departure. The story is somehow spun that it’s ‘All About Frank’ and the Birkenhead MP’s support for the Globe’s petition to get the current car parking charges for nurses changed – which is much like his ‘starving mites’ schtick. No right thinking person thinks nurses should be paying such high car parking charges just as they wouldn’t want children to go hungry. Here’s the Globe’s take : Tank Top Frank

We were given the heads up that Allison was heading for the exit with indecent haste by the following message :

David Allison – taken the money now running

Along with his useless Director of Workforce (replaced the useless Sue Green – yes – married to the useless David Green) James Mawrey – same job just a different title so her role could be made redundant and she could a massive pay-off…..

I dread to think what incompetent fiickwitts will follow in their steads

BTW – don’t give up – please!

However for us to get a fuller picture of what’s been going on we had to go to campaigning journalist Shaun Lintern who writes in the Health Service Journal :

WUTH

The concerns recorded in the document include:

  • NHSI was told the board “was not functioning as a unitary board . Pre-meets are carefully managed and concerns suppressed . It is felt that the CEO has a lack of grip on the issues facing the organisation and was not paying attention to quality indicators . The CEO responds to quality concerns with dismay and aggression. There is a concern that some key data and supportive narrative may be being carefully managed
  • NHSI was told executives have been instructed not to involve non-executive directors in any initiatives or issues in their portfolios without going through the chair
  • The executives ” felt the organisation had a culture that prohibits raising concerns as there was a lack of transparency and honesty when difficult issues were raised. this translated into a lack of visibility of quality and safety and reluctance to escalate concerns”
  • NHSI was told ” senior colleagues were moved out of the organisation very quickly with no obvious explanation .. They felt that this was related to a reluctance to escalate concerns and inability to accept appropriate challenge”
  • Consultants at the trust were said to be ” reluctant to take on senior leadership roles as history showed that they may (be) subject to investigations (and/or) intimidation if things did not work out”

Well fancy that! Were WUTH and Wirral Council separated at birth?

None of these allegations come as a surprise to us as we’ve long received similar allegations (see below), often sadly from whistleblowers who were subject to a culture of fear even more virulent than Wirral Council and therefore less willing to go public. We think it is significant that it was senior managers who blew the whistle because we’d like to suggest that there are WUTH staff further down the pecking order (and with considerably less influence and power) who have tales to tell about the trust’s toxic culture.

Indeed here we have some scary stats courtesy of NHS whistleblower and campaigner Minh Alexander which details whistleblowing contacts 2015-17 with useless health and social care regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) 

MINH whistleblowing

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Talking of useless regulators who are seemingly unwilling to accept that there was an increasingly worrying governance and culture problem brewing at WUTH we are also aware that Monitor were involved in a complaint about the highly questionable removal of a WUTH Governor in 2014 which had the hallmarks of a ‘kangaroo court’. They lamely concluded “…….we expect the Trust to explain departure from the Code of Governance in its annual report. However in the absence of further or new information , we will not be taking any further action over the above matters”  

The history of this case is worthy of a post of its own but might we suggest it would be more instructive for this particular former Governor to contact NHS Improvement to tell them of their experience.

We’ve trawled our other leaks to discover similar allegations to those mentioned above about WUTH . The first of which we publish in the interest of balance to the comment made above :

For the record, Sue Green, HR Director, left the Trust a few months after my removal. Wirralleaks reported on the circumstances of her leaving at the time. She had been suspended for disciplinary reasons but later cleared. During her suspension, the post of HR Director was dispensed with and she was made redundant. My experience of her was that she was an honest, conscientious and efficient professional who got on well with those she had contact with and was a loss to the Trust. Apparently, she did not fit in with the new culture of the Trust since the recent appointment of the new CEO, David Allison. 

And here’s another:

Michael Carr is the CEO’s puppet and has been given two extensions to his contract by governors for exceptional reasons (don’t know what reasons are but they will have been invented by Allison) after he had completed two periods of three years, which is the norm for an NHS FT Chairman. Allison wants him in post because he does not cause any problems for him. He is very compliant!

Suddenly doesn’t the chaos , disarray, low morale and lack of beds that we frequently hear about Arrowe Park Hospital make tragic sense when we get a peak at what goes on behind the scenes and how the place is seemingly (mis)managed?

However just to finish on a lighter , reassuring note like they do on News at Ten isn’t Orlando Agrippa simply the best name ever ?!