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It was significant that fresh concerns about managers’ treatment of whistleblowers at West Suffolk Foundation Trust, a hospital recently embroiled in a high-profile bullying scandal, were raised by its own workforce lead.
The series of new accusations made against managers were set out by the executive director for workforce in a paper for the hospital’s July board meeting.
The paper detailed how managers had been hunting to identify staff who had raised concerns through supposedly confidential channels.
The fact the trust board is highlighting bullying itself suggests it is, at the least, on the right track in its efforts to transform its culture after a traumatic few years.
But, while welcome, this more appropriate, transparent approach by executives does not excuse the poor behaviour they have highlighted, or mean that such poor behaviour should not be called out by those beyond the trust board.
The trust also declined to comment on what action was taken against the perpetrators. If no action was taken, what sort of message does that send out?
Interim chief executive Craig Black said the trust’s board was taking the issue seriously but warned culture change takes time.
Prison health ends up in court
NHS England has seen its decision to award a contract for providing offender health services in 10 West Country prisons challenged in court.
The £273m, seven-year contract was divided into four lots and the national commissioner decided to award three of them to Oxleas FT – a south London mental health and community services provider.
Practice Plus Group, which had been running services in six of those prisons, has contested this. PPG had been awarded the fourth lot of the contract – to run services in a women’s prison in South Gloucestershire – but it believes NHSE was wrong to award the other three to Oxleas.
A court judgement late last month said the services should be run by Oxleas from October, as an interim measure while the court mulls PPG’s challenge.
The private provider felt NHSE was wrong in how it had scored its response to the contract tender and appeared to evaluate its bid in comparison to Oxleas, breaking the principle of equal treatment. It also raised the prospect of a conflict of interest among the NHSE evaluation team.
NHSE for its part disputes these allegations. The case continues.
Also on hsj.co.uk today
Sir Mike Deegan has announced he is retiring from his role as group chief executive of Manchester University FT after 21 years leading the organisation in its various forms. Three clinical commissioning groups have been fined after a court judgment found they “manipulated” the procurement process for a £2m contract. “Outstanding” rated Royal Papworth Hospital FT has appointed chief operating officer Eilish Midlane as its new CEO.