WORKFORCE: The result of a consultant vote at Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust has been declared ‘not significant enough’ to justify calling for the chief executive’s reinstatement.

Consultants at the trust took a vote to see whether they should lobby for Keith McNeil to be reinstated.

Dr McNeil resigned a week before the publication of a Care Quality Commission report which rated the trust “inadequate”. The trust was placed in special measures this week.

In an email, seen by HSJ, from the trust consultants’ committee chair, Sam Bass, to the consultant body, he says 52 per cent of consultants voted. Of these, 70 per cent voted to reinstate Dr McNeil.

Mr Bass writes: “This does not give us a clear mandate for asking for the reinstatement of Keith as [chief executive]. In addition, I think he resigned before he was pushed.”

Emails were sent to 647 consultants giving them the option to vote. Only 58 per cent of the emails were opened. The rest were unopened, sent back out of office replies or the email address was rejected.

Keith McNeil

Keith McNeil resigned a week before the publication of the CQC report rating the trust ‘inadequate’

Seventy per cent of respondents (237 consultants) voted to reinstate Dr McNeil.

Sixty-one voted against the proposal and 41 abstained - 27 per cent of the vote.

Dr Bass said some consultants had seen the CQC report before voting and others had not and “therefore they were unable to comment and vote”.

He added: “Consultants might well feel differently when they read the full report. Now we have the CQC report and have had some chance to read it I think that might have changed some people’s minds.”

Dr Bass said although the outcome of the vote shows consultants are “offering support”, it was “not significant enough to ask for Keith’s resignation to be rescinded”.

He added: “I hope that this is fair and equitable. We need to consider carefully the votes we take and understand the consequences of what we ask for.”

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