Hospital chiefs defiant in face of resignation calls from council

HEALTH chiefs at a failing hospital trust insist they are working “as hard as they possibly can” while defying calls for their two most senior managers to stand down.

A motion calling for the resignation of the chairman and chief executive of Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was passed by 22 votes to three after a 90-minute debate at North East Lincolnshire Council.

Council leader Chris Shaw told members: “This council needs to give a message to the hospital management on behalf of the community.

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“We have a democratic right to tell them what we think - and what we think is that we’re not happy with what you’re doing and you need to pull your socks up.”

The motion also said the council “deplores” the £25,000 pay rise given to chief executive Karen Jackson in April 2012.

Coun Peter Wheatley, chairman of the health and wellbeing board, who proposed the motion, said he would be failing in his duty if he remained silent on such an important issue.

“The public of North East Lincolnshire have been very supportive of this hospital over the years. But how can they have confidence in a failing management who have let the hospital fall into special measures?” he asked.

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“I don’t often quote David Cameron, but as he has said, we must not reward failure.”

Trust chairman Dr James Whittingham said he noted the council’s concerns but resisted the call to quit and invited councillors to visit one of the trust’s hospitals to see the progress being made.

“As the acute service provider we are committed to working together to achieve the best outcomes for local people,” he said.

“We appreciate that part of our contribution is to make sure that our services are of the highest quality and the trust’s managers and staff are working as hard and quickly as they possibly can to achieve this.”

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He added: “It is equally important that our partners work with us and I make an open invitation to council members to visit Grimsby hospital to see that progress we are making for themselves.”

Angie Davies, head of nursing for medicine at Grimsby, said nursing staff had “full confidence” in the leadership team.

The trust, which runs hospitals in Goole, Grimsby, and Scunthorpe, was placed in “special measures” in July after a litany of failings were uncovered in a Government-ordered review carried out by NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh.

On Thursday Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced that top performing managers in the NHS would be drafted in to turn around the 11 NHS trusts placed in special measures following the Keogh Review.

The Northern Lincolnshire and Goole trust has yet to find out who its mentor organisation will be, but said it welcomed the support.