WORKFORCE: The governors of Royal Berkshire Hospital Foundation Trust are planning an inquiry into the conduct of its board following a decision to effectively suspend the organisation’s chief executive.

The trust announced on 22 December that Ed Donald had returned to work after going on indefinite leave earlier that month. HSJ understands that the period “on leave” followed a board-level leadership dispute.

HSJ has learned governors are currently establishing an independent inquiry into the board’s handling of the matter.

One source close to the trust said governors wanted to examine how effectively the trust’s non-executive directors were making decisions.

Governors raised concerns following an outcry from local clinicians. Consultants at the trust “very affirmatively backed him [Mr Donald]”, and there was also strong support from GPs and social care staff, sources said.

A spokesman said the trust was “keen to end the current speculation around its leadership”.

He added: “The chair and non-executive directors are committed to working with the chief executive, Ed Donald, and their partners to ensure the trust continues to deliver high quality patient care and effective financial management in the most challenging operating environment that the NHS and Royal Berkshire Foundation Trust has faced.”