Wirral University Teaching Hospital – Leaks to Cascade

 

 

APH-NO-EVOL

Lessons have been learned ? – A Wirral Leaks picture from our January 2014 story GREEN LEAVES would suggest not. If leaked documents had not been sent to Health Service Journal would bullying and management concerns ever been made public?

Leaked email from Wirral’s largest employer which appears to confirm that it suffering from the same toxic culture that afflicts Wirral’s second largest employer. The media exposure referred to are articles published in Health Service Journal and not the local press.

From: Communications (Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust)
Sent: 12 January 2018 17:05
Subject: FOR INFORMATION: Health Service Journal (HSJ) media exposure

Message sent on behalf of Dr Susan Gilby, Medical Director

Please cascade to those not on NHS Mail

Dear Colleagues,

As my executive colleague, David Jago highlighted in his global communication today (issued at 13:12), I would like to further update you on likely media exposure following this matter.

Many of you keep up-to-date on social media and via the local press, however for those that do not, I felt it was only right to share with you an article that has today (Friday) appeared on Twitter and online in the Health Service Journal (HSJ).

Upon joining the Trust early last year as Medical Director, I requested that a medical staff engagement survey was carried out as I felt there was a widespread perception of ‘disconnect’ between management and medical staff. As a result of my early observations, it was clear that this benchmarking exercise, with a strong evidence base, would enable the Board to support a strategy for cultural change within the organisation.

On behalf of the Executive team, I would like to say that the Trust is extremely grateful to staff that have raised concerns and we deeply regret any failures to identify and effectively deal with some of these highlighted attitudes and behaviours that this survey has uncovered.

It is my intention to now plan and commission an external cultural change programme which will help address the root causes of unacceptable behaviours and embed the positive behaviours that staff would expect to consistently exhibit and witness.

In the spirit of openness and transparency, I will keep you all fully informed on its progress and will feedback its findings later in the year.

For colleagues not on social media, or who do not follow the press, I have placed below the full HSJ article in order to prevent rumour and inaccuracy.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank colleagues for showing great and ongoing understanding to the Executive and Senior team during this period of challenge and I look forward to working with you all on our journey towards quality improvement.

Kind regards,

Dr Susan Gilby

Medical Director

HSJ article published 12/01/2018: Leaked documents reveal bullying and management concerns at trust

Wirral University Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust  doctors reported high levels of bullying and “disconnect” from management, according to documents leaked to HSJ.

They resonate with serious concerns raised about management and culture at the trust that were reported by several of the trust’s executive directors to regulators, and revealed by HSJ, last month.

Documents seen by HSJ also allege former chief executive David Allison, who left suddenly in December, dismissed a proposal to appoint clinical leaders, saying it would happen “over my dead body”.

Trust medical director Susan Gilby raised the results of a first medical staff engagement survey at a private board meeting in summer last year. The survey reported “a continuing widespread perception of ‘disconnect’ between management and medical staff”.

Results of a second survey of 95 doctors, carried out in March 2017 and also leaked to HSJ, revealed 43 per cent of respondents said they had experienced harassment, bullying or abuse in the previous 12 months. A report on the findings said “most of [this] was from managers”. Only a third of doctors in this survey said they felt able to make improvements happen in their area of work. Changes suggested by doctors included improving culture and behaviours of managers towards doctors.

Minutes of three trust executives’ meeting with NHS Improvement in November show they raised the survey and told the regulator they “felt the organisation had a culture that prohibits raising concerns as there was a lack of transparency and honesty when difficult issues are raised”.

The same minutes said: “One example cited [of poor culture] was the recent poor results from the medical engagement scale which in the view of the MES team were extremely poor.

“The [medical director] raised this with the CEO and chair [Michael Carr] and at private board but did not receive support from the CEO to address the concerns.

“He was heard to say to the company secretary that the doctors would be leads of their services ‘over my dead body’. The minutes of the private board meeting discussion on this topic did not adequately reflect the discussion.

“In the pre-meet before the subsequent [public] board meeting the MD was told by the CEO not to go into detail in addressing the required amendments [to minutes of the private board].”

According to the survey results of more than 100 doctors, the trust scored among the lowest for medical engagement of 110 NHS trusts with which it was compared.

The report on the second survey, passed to HSJ by a member of staff, concluded: “The views of medical staff in Wirral University Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust suggest a general perception of very low levels of medical engagement compared to the medical engagement norms for NHS trusts.”

It pointed out that the trust’s results had deteriorated from an earlier survey in 2012 warning: “Medical engagement is not significantly improving and in some areas appears to be getting worse. The results suggest a continuing widespread perception of ‘disconnect’ between management and medical staff characterised by insufficient contact and authentic communication.”

The report states that, comparing the 2017 to 2012 results, the survey showed a 29 per cent decrease in staff feeling they were involved in decision making and a 21 per cent fall in staff feeling valued and empowered.

The report said there was a “consistent divide” between managers and doctors with 63 per cent of managers saying they work closely with doctors compared to just 12 per cent of medical staff. In total, 70 per cent of managers agreed that senior management actively encouraged innovative thinking by medical staff compared with just 7 per cent of doctors.

Only 13 per cent of medical staff said they could trust non-medical managers to take their opinions on board. The report said: “Clearly, many members of medical staff feel that there is little opportunity to talk freely with management about future plans and consequently their ideas and opinions are either not taken seriously or simply ignored by management staff…

“The results reveal a consistent tendency for managers to overestimate medical engagement and this over-optimistic perception may well indicate that managers are far from fully aware of the working challenges that medical staff face, and do not take the medical engagement as seriously as they might.”

In a statement to HSJ, Susan Gilby, the trust’s medical director, said: “As a result of my early observations upon joining the trust last year, a survey around clinical leadership and collaborative working was commissioned. It was felt that this benchmarking exercise, with a strong evidence base, would enable the board to support a strategy for cultural change within the organisation.

“The trust is hugely grateful to staff that have raised concerns around bullying and harassment and we deeply regret any failures to identify and effectively deal with some of these highlighted attitudes and behaviours.

“As an executive team, we wish to make it clear that there is no place for such attitudes and behaviours in the trust and we can only apologise to staff that may have experienced this culture.”

She said the trust now planned to commission an external cultural change programme to help address “the root causes of unacceptable behaviours and to embed the positive behaviours that staff would expect to consistently exhibit and witness”.

NHS Improvement has previously said it will launch an investigation into the concerns raised about the trust.

 

Advertisements

Frequently Asked Questions

what da faq
A student journalist called ‘Charlie’ has been in touch . Apparently he’s writing a public affairs story for an assignment and has asked us some pertinent questions . We thought it would be a useful exercise to share his questions and our answers with readers and critics alike as it will save us a lot of time explaining what we do and why we do it :
1. Why did you start your blog? And what are you hoping to achieve?
Astonishingly we’ve just realised the blog started in November 2010. So you could say we’re heading for our ‘Seven Year Snitch’ !  Wirral Leaks started as tool to give an alternative voice to town hall spin – often using satire to expose Wirral Council corruption . Our ‘Contact Us’ page reads: ‘Hello Citizens! If you have news, grievances or proof of bullying, incompetence, cover ups and malpractice share it in confidence HERE wirralleaks@gmail.com & one of our operatives will get back to you.’
This sums it up. Where else can people go? 
What are we hoping to achieve ? – the downfall of western civilisation or failing that waking up the apathetic electorate of Wirral! We think it is fair to say that many significant Wirral Council public interest stories might never have been fully exposed or quickly forgotten about if we hadn’t existed. There are too many to list here but our readers will have their particular favourites. 750 posts and an ever increasing readership suggests a continuing need for this type of blog.   
2. How much attention does your blog have? What impact does it have?
It all depends whether you’re talking about blog stats (read them for yourself) or attention that is actively sought. We have Facebook and Twitter links but we don’t whore ourselves out on social media – it’s madness out there!
It’s fair to say we only seek approval of our mates and who we consider those to be our (superior) peers. We’ve been referenced in Private Eye as an ‘excellent local blog’  – high praise indeed! and local freebie Wirral Globe newspaper who’ve described us as ‘caustic’, ‘mischievous’ and only today (19/4/17) in Granty’s Inferno as ‘guardian of the free press’ . Guilty as charged on all three counts!   
Although there’s a concerted effort by the powers that be not to give us any recognition we’ve been mentioned in legal proceedings,council meetings and independent investigations. We have been contacted by representatives of ALL local political parties and recently were surprisingly given the endorsement of a senior local political figure (more on that at a later date). Having said all that we’re probably not the ones to ask when it comes to impact – you’re best asking targets of our stories who contact us (usually after a few scoops too many ) . There’s public impact and personal impact. There’s also our impact on the reputations of those in power and the decisions they make.This is incalculable.  
3. What would you say are the main issues with the council?
Where to begin?
The two words that we receive get most often to describe Wirral Council are ‘ shambles’ and ‘cesspit’ . So we’ll go with that description – shambolic cesspit.
Wirral Council was described in an independent review in 2012 as a place where the ‘abnormal is normal’. Despite their desperate pleas that ‘lessons have been learned’ nothing has changed . All of the slugs that were around then have slithered their way back and acquired yet more slime along the way.
4. Where would you say the council should focus their spending? 
It’s not for us to say where Wirral Council should focus their spending. Councillors get elected to do that – unfortunately their IQ doesn’t seem to equate with those making the real decisions as they are too easily duped by senior council officers who just want to get through Monday to Friday with the least minimum effort. Doing things properly or in the public interest doesn’t come into it!   
However what we will say is that we do know where they shouldn’t spend it on serial failures or paying off incompetent,corrupt council officers – INSERT NAME HERE.  
5. What was your take on the council bringing out the ‘Wirral View’ paper?
We were trying to keep this clean but FFS have you read the wretched thing? And have you read our repeated ripostes? When you read that a damning report about how Wirral Council’s Children Services and their assorted partner agencies have repeatedly let our vulnerable children down is reported that Wirral Council is investing £10 million in Children’s Services you know the true intent of this sinister publication.
The fact that Wirral Council are actively seeking advertising suggests they want to put the local press out of business. The question is – what are they going to do about blogs like us? 

No Shit Sherlock ! Council Staff Feel Bullied !

Wirral Council produces a staff magazine which is  unintentionally hilarious. Yet tragic. This patronising snippet (below) shows that apparently the ministers for propaganda at WBC are surprised that staff feel bullied ???? Durrr HELLO , earth calling WBC!!   This is despite the numerous stories in the local press and of course the AKA report.

So what does the Council do?   Well the usual of course ie/ Jack Diddley Squat(no that’s not the new Chief Execs name.) It merely states its current procedures, with a vague promise of revised procedures at some unidentified date in the future. Do staff, past and present have any faith in these procedures ?  Maybe we should ask Martin Morton ?  What would be sensible would be to set up  an investigation to look into the results of the survey, but that would mean taking real action and we can’t have that can we ? Besides the survey itself is merely another tool in the dark art of spin to evidence that everything is actually hunky dory. What they do, do  is to subtly spread any possible blame informing staff that it is everybody’s responsibility, thus making it all encompassing and not aimed just at shabby management alone.  (Odd that isn’t it because bullying usually comes from some sort of imbalance in a power dynamic)

We at WL are reliably informed that a MAJOR problem (no that’s not the new Chief Execs name either) within WBC is the bullying culture that emanates from senior managers. But of course they aren’t going to investigate themselves are they ?  That would be abnormally abnormal!