• NHS Improvement committee criticised leadership of King’s College Hospital FT
  • Discussed “capacity and capability” of medical director
  • Trust says it “does not recognise or appreciate these comments”

The medical director of a Shelford Group trust was singled out in criticism of its leadership by NHS Improvement, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal.

The “strength of the leadership team” and the “approach to engaging” with the medical director and chief executive at King’s College Hospital Foundation Trust were discussed by the regulator’s operational productivity programme delivery group in December.

The document said “the capacity and capability” of medical director Professor Julia Wendon was considered. It added “support could be provided from NHSI’s medical director – professional leadership if required”.

King’s chief executive Nick Moberly announced his resignation last month and the organisation was placed in financial special measures in December.

A trust spokesman said: “The trust does not recognise or appreciate these comments.

“Under the leadership of Professor Wendon our medical response to the three major incidents in 2017 was widely recognised; patient outcomes have remained in the upper quartile compared across the UK; and the trust continues to be globally renowned as one of the UK’s leading teaching and research hospitals.”

Professor Wendon was appointed in October 2015 and has been an intensive care consultant at the trust since 1992.

The finance director, chief operating officer and chair have left the trust over the last six months.

The paper said the committee was considering targeted support in four areas at the trust: trauma and orthopaedics; radiology and imaging; ophthalmology; and back office functions; as well as “a programme of work to address the cultural issues that had been identified at the trust”.

It added: “The reliance of this work on the support of the trust’s executive team, particularly the chief executive and medical director, and clinicians to ensure delivery of the required improvements was emphasised.”

The committee said some of the trust’s financial problems came from ineffective job planning practices, which the trust has acknowledged, while claiming to have made “considerable” progress.

The trust spokesman said it was aiming to make improvements to its trauma and orthopaedics work by the autumn with support from Getting it Right First Time national lead Professor Tim Briggs.

NHSI had noted the “significant losses reported across [trauma and orthopaedics] services due to inefficient operations”, the minutes said.

The committee also discussed “the value of the substantial external consultancy support that had procured by the trust over the past two years”.

A spokeswoman for NHS Improvement said: ”We have been having ongoing discussions within NHS Improvement and with King’s on how best to support them in their improvement work. This meeting happened in December. Since then, we have developed a joint programme to support King’s with strong clinical leadership and engagement from the medical director, chief nurse and their teams.”