Published: 30/06/2005, Volume II5, No. 5962 Page 13

Doctors at a 2,250-bed acute trust have demanded the resignation of the trust board after an overwhelming vote of no confidence by medical staff.

The postal ballot of consultants and senior doctors at Pennine Acute Hospitals trust, Lancashire, saw 211 vote in favour of a strongly worded eight-point no confidence motion condemning the board for a string of management failures - with just 34 voting against.

The doctors' verdict follows a similar vote of no confidence earlier this month, taken by the shop stewards' committee representing the non-medical workforce at the trust, which was formed from a four-way merger in 2002.

The doctors' no confidence motion attacks a 'failure to establish an open and effective clinical governance system' and condemned its failure to 'behave in an open and trustworthy manner'. The motion accuses the board of a 'failure of patient care' because of its other shortcomings.

In a statement, the doctors' local negotiating committee said it believed 'a management that has lost the confidence not only of its senior medical staff but also the rest of its workforce would best serve the interests of the trust and its patients by stepping aside'.

Senior doctors' spokesperson and consultant anaesthetist Ian Hartopp said: 'The vote is much stronger than I would have imagined.' The doctors would be taking the matter up with the Department of Health and Greater Manchester strategic health authority, he added.

The trust's chief executive, Chris Appleby, said: 'We are very disappointed. It is a shame the consultants have felt the need to do this.

Clearly we need to listen to what they are saying - I wouldn't want to minimise it in any way.' He said a meeting had already taken place between medical staff representatives and trust chair Steven Price, and he was hoping for more dialogue in the 'breathing space' before doctors met again on 13 July, to try to resolve the problems.