A mediator has been called in to a bitter dispute between managers and clinicians at Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Trust, which is applying for foundation status.

The row at Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Trust was sparked after more than 100 clinical staff signed a letter saying the trust will never be able to fulfil the commitments set out in the next stage review without radical changes to its ethos and structure.

We have examples of care pathways being compromised by the management structure. We have to go right up to the top and down again and that’s a very clumsy way of managing clinical situations

In particular, the clinicians want decisions to be more devolved and for managers to take more account of their views.

The letter was in response to a consultation that is part of the trust’s bid for foundation status.

HSJ understands NHS South West chief executive Sir Ian Carruthers met consultants and nurses to discuss their concerns and consultant Neil Goodwin has been asked to step in to mediate.

HSJ has been told Mr Goodwin will meet the executive team before they and clinicians discuss the concerns together.

One of the letter’s signatories told HSJ: “We have examples of care pathways being compromised by the management structure. We have to go right up to the top and down again and that’s a very clumsy way of managing clinical situations.”

A trust spokesman said: “We believe effective partnership working between management and clinicians is crucial and is why this is reflected in all our structures and lies at the heart of our business planning process.

“As part of our foundation trust consultation we received a submission from a number of Bristol clinicians. Their views on the involvement of clinicians and the requirement for patient-centred and clinically driven change are largely mirrored by those of the trust’s board.”

He said: “We are not prepared to comment on any confidential meeting which the trust may or may not hold.”

An NHS South West spokeswoman said: “The strategic health authority works with and supports all trusts to drive forward improvements in services and care for their local populations.”