NHS Finance


Debt-ridden NHS trust loses four senior directors in last month alone

A Lancashire trust has lost four of its senior directors in the last month alone, amidst claims the provider is dealing with a £42m deficit.

The Lancashire Teaching Hospital NHS FT, which runs Chorley and South Ribble Hospital and Preston Royal Hospital, will lose divisional director Suzanne Hargreave as the latest departee of the north west trust, the Lancashire Post has reported.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals was told it needed urgent improvement after a CQC inspection during April last year. But in 2015 the provider was already facing regulatory action due to a massive deficit forecast.

The chief executive of the foundation trust, Karen Partington, has now said: “In an unfortunate coincidence of timing three of our divisional directors have recently confirmed that they have been successful in their applications for positions in other organisations – and we wish each of them every success.”

Yesterday, the Lancashire Post reported that Partington found the trust’s operational performance as “severely challenged in recent months,” particularly over the winter period. She added that the provider had taken the opportunity to review its structure and will seek to make new appointments shortly.

Partington noted: “Separately, Suzanne Hargreaves, operations director has decided it’s time for a break after four years in the job. Suzanne has worked tirelessly in this role and throughout her career to develop and deliver the highest standards of services and provide safe and effective care for patients and we thank her for her dedication and commitment and wish her well for the future.”

Separately, last month nurses on the A&E ward at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital wrote a letter to the hospital’s chiefs expressing fear of a “burnout” of staff due to shifts of up to 17 hours and staff shortages.

The hospital reopened last year on a part-time basis, accepting patients until 8pm, where staff are on shift until 10pm. Yet nurses argue they are frequently unable to leave at 10pm due to there still being a surplus of patients within the department who need treatment.

“At the moment we feel that it is expected that we all stay on and cover the department regardless of other commitments. On occasions when we have expressed a desire to leave at 10pm at the end of our shift some site managers have used unfair coercive tactics to get us to stay,” their letter stated.

The nurses gave hospital executives 30 days to issue a response before seeking union support. The letter concluded: “We have not arrived at this decision lightly but as a group of staff we are seeing our health and personal relationships suffer and we feel we can’t adequately care for our patients.”

 Dave Thompson/PA Archive/PA Images

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