Wirral University Teaching Hospital : The Empty Chair

empty chair 6

 

Our well placed Wirral University Teaching Hospital source writes to update us on the Wirral University Teaching Hospital (WUTH) Chair appointment situation and to give an insight into the current management culture:

Dear Mr Justice

It is just possible your piece last year that Sir David Henshaw was the sole candidate may have had an impact.
It was announced last week, to senior medical staff, that the interview for the chair has NOT yet taken place, contradicting an earlier (and minuted) announcement that it in fact had, and the decision was to be announced by end November.
Details are sparse but it is now believed there are now 3 candidates who will be interviewed “within days”.
Cynics say the rumour that applicants are: Sir David Henshaw and his best-mates -in -all-the-world Sir Duncan Nichol and Sir David Dalton – and Nichol & Dalton are “ringers” and will drop out are wide of the mark, and the truth is considerably stranger than this fiction.
Other WUTH news includes virtue signalling of epic proportions:
Only recycled paper is now used in WUTH – which went paper free some years ago !
WUTH are “refreshing” it’s PROUD* values ! (see below)
No one is sure what this actually means, or if it can mean anything –  but in practical terms all employees have to undertake “learnings” in 2 hour sessions where they are reminded not to be beastly to their workmates.
The “usual suspects” deliver this advice without any trace of irony – senior management do not attend these sessions but all attendees are reassured senior management attend different sessions – and chillingly; at those senior management sessions feedback from the “learnings” is discussed. 

On re-reading this I am forced to admit that none of it makes any sense – but it does give an accurate picture of the overarching strategy that underpins the organisation your readers will turn to when their own health is in peril… 

*Who could ever forget this ? PROUD? Er, it’s a no from us …

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…