June 29, 2008
Concerns Over Appointment of NHS Trust Chief
THE new chief executive of a crisis-hit Yorkshire health trust faced calls to quit over serious concerns about patient care in her previous role.Christine Green will become Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Healthcare NHS Trust's fifth chief executive in six years when she takes over in a temporary capacity from the departing Iain McInnes on Monday.
But concerns have already been raised about her appointment following a damning report into care for the elderly during her tenure as chief executive of Tameside and Glossop NHS Trust in the North West.
The report into Tameside Hospital in Ashton-under-Lyne, published in February last year, found care administered to some patients over a number of years had been "seriously deficient".
It found evidence of staff intimidation, rudeness and aggression from doctors, poor hygiene and patients being told to wet the bed. A review six months later said the trust had acknowledged its shortcomings and was making good progress.
Ms Green and the trust were also at the centre of a storm over a "fake" photograph, when she was part of a group pictured alongside MP James Purnell at the launch of a hospital rebuilding project last year. Mr Purnell had missed the photo shoot and the trust later admitted doctoring the picture to include him.
East Yorkshire MP Greg Knight questioned the appointment, but said he would be prepared to back Ms Green if she took a different approach to her predecessor over the future of under-threat services at Bridlington Hospital.
He said: "If she listens to what local doctors are saying and shows she's willing to stand up for Bridlington Hospital, then I for one would not hold those past black marks against her."
Unions have also said they would judge Ms Green on her record in Yorkshire.
Terry Cunliffe, regional officer for the union Unite, said: "I have spoken to the chief executive of the strategic health authority who assures me that Christine is highly experienced and the strategic health authority are confident in her ability to manage and take the trust forward.
"I'm always prepared to give that person the opportunity to show that confidence is well-founded."
But councillor Ros Jump, East Riding Council portfolio holder for health said the appointment smacked of "panic".
"I'm very concerned that they haven't got anybody who doesn't come with baggage," she said. "They have had enough upheaval without bringing in someone in who isn't going to be there permanently."
The independent reconfiguration panel, which advises the Health Secretary on contested proposals for health service change, is reviewing the trust's plans to transfer Bridlington's cardiac monitoring unit and acute medical services to Scarborough Hospital, and alter the way maternity services are delivered.
The trust only shelved plans to axe 600 jobs - a third of its workforce - last year when the strategic health authority agreed to suspend the bulk of its historical debt of Pounds 12m.
A spokesman for NHS Yorkshire and Humber said: "Christine Green has successfully guided Tameside to foundation trust status, recognition of a well managed organisation. As chief executive she has faced serious challenges and worked with colleagues to put solutions in place. It is this valuable experience she will bring to Scarborough and East Yorkshire Trust as interim chief executive."
Ms Green said in a statement: "The NHS is a public service system and as a public servant I feel it is important that we pull together to help other parts of the service when necessary."
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