A FORMER NHS chief executive and whistleblower has called for the removal of the current management of the county’s hospitals as they had proven they could not run them effectively.
Gary Walker, a turnaround specialist and former chief executive of United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, was asked to give a management opinion on the current situation at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust by the Save the Alex campaign.
He was asked to analyse financial and performance data as well as review the ongoing reconfiguration project.
And in a report released by the group on Wednesday (March 11) Mr Walker – who became one of the UK’s highest profile whistleblowers two years ago when he revealed how the health service had spent £500,000 trying to gag him over a range of patient safety concerns he raised – was highly critical of the process.
In his findings he said the review was fundamentally flawed as too narrow a range of options had been explored and all had been based on ensuring the survival of WAHT rather than securing patient services.
He added the option of breaking up the Trust, including the transfer of the Alex to University Hospitals Birmingham, had been wrongly ruled out without speaking to alternative providers.
Mr Walker also said it was clear given the financial and performance issues WAHT faced the current board of directors would be unable to turnaround the situation and the Trust Development Authority – which regulates non-Foundation Trust hospitals – should appoint a new management team.
Speaking to the Standard he said: “If you look at the whole picture you have an organisation that is not performing, has spent three years on a review and come up with nothing and have doctors leaving because of patient safety concerns and don’t even try to keep them.
“They are either incompetent or waiting for the service to fail.
“Either way they have proven they are not capable of running the services and the TDA must now step in and take that responsibility away from them.”
A spokeswoman for the TDA said: “We met with the board recently and are working with them on addressing the challenges they are currently facing. Our priority is to support the organisation to deliver high quality care for patients and improved performance on a sustainable basis, to meet increasing demand and operational pressures. We have commissioned an independent review into bullying and harassment and are not going to prejudge the outcome of this investigation.”