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Wirral University Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust

Cleared HR director loses job

WORKFORCE: A human resources director who had been suspended has lost her job despite a disciplinary investigation finding she had no case to answer, HSJ can reveal.

Sue Green has been made redundant following Wirral University Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust’s decision to “streamline the executive structure”.

HSJ revealed in October that Ms Green, the trust’s director of HR and organisational development since 2008, had been suspended pending an investigation, although the trust refused to give a reason for the probe.

Ms Green was the last remaining executive director to have served under previous chief executive Len Richards, who left the trust in August 2011.

HSJ has obtained two emails current chief executive David Allison sent to staff.

In the first, he wrote that “the investigation has been concluded and the trust is satisfied there is no basis for disciplinary action” against Ms Green.

In the second – sent this afternoon – he said Ms Green had been made redundant after her role was removed from the executive structure.

Readers' comments (10)

  • Probably yet another case where someone's face doesn't fit, and they find a way to get rid of them in any way possible

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  • I know nothing about this. But when even the HR director can be reorganised out of her job after being cleared, questions might reasonably be asked.

    The Liverpool Echo reported that "in response to rumours alleged by staff that Ms Green had raised concerns of a bullying culture at the trust, a hospital spokeswoman said a recent inspection from the health watchdog the Care Quality Commission had concluded there was no such thing."

    The Echo then went on to report that "an Arrowe Park Hospital survey reveals bullying claims in women and children’s unit". I have personally spoken to two staff members there who say that they felt HR was trying to question the bullying culture.

    Even if my informants are mistaken (and I don't think they are), how does such an apparently dubious process fit with the openness, transparency and improved HR practice the NHS needs post Francis?

    Readers in the North West will know that this is not the only HR director to be summarily removed from post in the recent past in that region.

    I'm not always the greatest fan of HR colleagues but they are as entitled to fair treatment as anyone else.

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  • Another Trust with a clear out of its top leadership team. There seems to be an assumption that this will somehow cure the Trusts of many of its existing problems. While buying some time with monitor or the TDA, it will be at the expense of corporate memory and stability.

    But, as many of the problems are likely to be system wide, the process will merrily repeat itself over and over. At some point (good) potential candidates are likely to avoid such a Trust like the plague.

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  • "The NHS can be trusted to respond to Francis's challenge" (HSJ Leader, 7 February 2014) - really?

    Francis impacts on culture and patient safety (Francis: One Year On, p. 4) - does it??

    It certainly doesn't feel like it from where I'm standing in frontline clinical services, where two members of staff are being taken through disciplinary procedures on spurious and fabricated allegations for raising concerns about how a clinical service is run, supported by senior management and HR.

    The unfolding story of Paula Vasco-Knight illustrates precisely the organisational and managerial self-preservation that is supposedly changing, where "corporateness" trumps public accountability and reporting to a line manager who is complicit is meaningless.

    Still, we now have lots of bits of paper floating about in the spirit of accountability and transparency....;-)

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  • Strikes me that a Trust of that size which had 7 Executive Directors (now 6) is doing the responsible thing in reviewing costs of the Board.

    I assume that this will also mean a reduction in the number of Non Executives too? Overall therefore a potential saving of over 150k.

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  • In normal circumstances it would be right to review the numbers on the Board of Directors but for it to be credible it must be done in the right way. Otherwise the Board runs the risk of losing all trust. This case appears to be a classic example of the HRD doing the right thing, trying to prevent an unhealthy and ultimately dangerous culture developing any further and being hounded out of the place in the worst possible way. I suspect the review of structure was a way of solving a serious problem once it was clear there was no case against her(there probably never was one) and not a Board of Directors being responsible in the use of public funds... After all IF she was suspended for nothing or on the basis of things made up against her isn't that a waste!? I too know people in the hospital and am reliably informed that the CQC did not investigate the claims she made.. More a case of clever press release writing which I'm sure the Liverpool Echo would be keen to put right!

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  • I was a victim of bullying by a Trust HR Director, reported it as a formal complaint which was then investigated by her Director colleagues (no conflict of interest there then!) and was whitewashed. Didn't question any witnesses at all. I left the Trust as she was making my working life unbearable. She's still there, still doing the same thing.

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  • NHS HR is a farce.

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  • The very term 'human resources' is demeaning. It reduces people to mere components of production.

    It is surprising to find anyone leading such services being squeezed out or victimised. They're more usually involved in facilitating other people's job losses every time there is a reorganisation, so this must feel particularly like a particularly vindictive betrayal for such postholders.

    It might be a step forward for any trust if they created a truly supportive Personnel and Occupational Health service and started treating their staff like human beings.

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  • I would entirely support a movement to treat staff, and patients, as human beings. What would we call it?

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