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20.02.19

Under-fire trust chair to step down following calls from MPs to resign

The under-fire chair of the Dudley Group NHS FT has announced she will leave the position after four local MPs called for her to resign.

Jenni Ord said she would leave the West Midlands trust at the end of April, stating that she wanted to “regain a better work life balance.”

The trust’s Russells Hall Hospital received four enforcement action notices from the CQC last year over the safety of its ‘inadequate’ emergency department, and the chair of the trust has also faced criticism from politicians over delays to the publication of a whistleblowing review investigating the trust.

Four local MPs raised concerns over the independent review commissioned by Ord and NHS Improvement in order to look into doubts raised by 42 senior clinicians about the trust’s chief executive, medical director, and head of HR.

The MPs – Margot James, Mike Wood, Ian Austin, and James Morris – said they were told report would be published in December and met before Christmas with the board of the trust to raise their concerns over the board’s decision to appoint the trust as chair for a further three years.

In a statement, Dudley Group FT said: “Regular trust business, including significant additional demands on the trust, resulted in huge time investment and personal involvement, with intense periods of activity throughout this business year.

“Jenni’s assessment is that this looks set to continue well into next year. She believes such time commitment is no longer sustainable.”

Ord said: “Taking everything into account I do feel it is the right time for me to regain a better work life balance and to provide an opportunity for a successor to carry forward the future development of the trust.

“It has been a privilege to work with everyone in Dudley and I have enjoyed each and every day, both the highs and the lows.

“I appreciate the fact that I have had the support of board colleagues, governors and staff over the last three years and this, above all, is what I value most.”

Ord, who has spent three years at the trust, was reappointed as chair last autumn despite concerns over the trust’s performance. A new chair will be appointed following her departure.

Dudley South MP Mike Wood: “This is clearly for the best for Dudley's hospitals as well as for Jenni personally.

“I look forward to working with the new chair as they bring in the new leadership that the trust needs to deliver the consistently high quality of care that local people that local people deserve and the hospital's staff care so passionately about delivering."

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