• Four MPs in Dudley raise concerns over reappointment of chair at The Dudley Group FT
  • Comes after delays in publication of independent report into whistleblowing claims

Four MPs in Dudley have raised concerns over the reappointment of their local trust’s chair, ahead of the publication of a report into whistleblowing claims against its executive directors.

The MPs – Margot James (Conservative), Mike Wood (Conservative), James Morris (Conservative) and Ian Austin (Labour) – met with the board of The Dudley Group Foundation Trust in December to raise concerns over the reappointment of the trust’s chair, Jenni Ord, for a further three years.

Jenni-Ord_APPROVED

Jenni Ord, chair of The Dudley Group FT

This meeting followed delays to the publication of an independent report, carried out by Capsticks, into claims made by 42 senior clinicians about the trust’s chief executive, chief nurse, head of HR and medical director.

According to Ms James, member for Stourbridge, NHS Improvement and the Care Quality Commission told the MPs the report would be published in December. They were then told it would be further delayed to allow the “people mentioned to have time to review, correct any inaccuracies and get back to [them]”.

She added: “We then met with the hospital governing body and expressed our strong concerns and our incredulity that the chair of [the] trust had been reappointed in the middle of all of this.

“In July, we wrote in confidence to the chair and urged her to consider her position, in light seemingly of the trusts inability to get on top of its situation… We were then incredulous that the trust board, in the autumn saw fit to extend her term when it came up for renewal and not just for six months [but] for a further three years.

“It was absolutely appalling, I think. We are very concerned this report still hasn’t been published. Now we are starting to be concerned there are forces at work trying to either block the publication of the report or redact it so heavily it loses its meaning.”

A spokeswoman for the trust told HSJ it was their council of governors who reappointed Ms Ord, not the trust’s board.  

During 2018, the trust received four enforcement action notices from the Care Quality Commission over the safety of its emergency department.

In a statement to HSJ, Fred Allen, lead governor for the trust, said: “Our chair’s tenure was due to expire in January 2019. A review of the chair’s term took place at a remuneration committee of the council of governors in September 2018, providing a report for decision at the full council meeting in October where the chair’s reappointment was agreed.

“The governors felt that the chair had provided excellent leadership during her term and has provided stable ongoing support for three years. Governors are well aware of their power to appoint and remove the chair at any stage.”

Responding to delays in the publication of the Capsticks report, the trust’s chair said: “The full report has not yet been received (due in part to some sickness absence). Once received, the trust, in consultation with NHS Improvement, will need some time to consider the report and its recommendations.”

This article was updated at 13:51.