• Roger Wilson, HR director at Warrington and Halton Hospitals Foundation Trust, referred to CQC
  • He signed a deal with Morecambe Bay midwife which allowed her to avoid misconduct investigation
  • Trust told HSJ it had been threatened with legal action by Mr Wilson if it disclosed investigation findings

An NHS director who agreed an “irregular” payoff deal with a Morecambe Bay midwife has been referred to the Care Quality Commission by his trust following an investigation.

Roger Wilson, former director of human resources and organisational development at Warrington and Halton Hospitals Foundation Trust, has been referred to the regulator under the fit and proper person regulations.

The referral follows the trust’s investigation into Mr Wilson’s conduct while he was a HR director at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay FT in 2012.

A referral to the CQC under fit and proper person regulations would normally indicate a finding against a subject of an investigation by a trust’s investigation panel, although the outcome of this investigation has not been confirmed to HSJ.

The trust said it could not release specific details of the investigation findings because of a threat of legal action by Mr Wilson, who resigned from the trust in May.

In a statement it said it had decided to release information about the outcome of the investigation, despite objections by Mr Wilson, because it served the “public interest”.

Should the CQC agree with the trust’s actions it would mean the end of Mr Wilson’s career as an NHS board director as he would be barred from sitting on a trust board under the regulations, which were introduced following the poor care scandal at the Mid Staffordshire FT.

In a statement to HSJ in October 2016, Mr Wilson said: “I strongly refute any allegation of impropriety on my part while employed at UHMB or at any other role that I have held in either public or private sectors.”

In 2012, Mr Wilson signed a deal with the former maternity risk manager at the Morecambe Bay trust, Jeanette Parkinson, which allowed her to receive 14 months’ redundancy pay, when she was entitled to only one month, and more than 470 hours of overtime pay that had not been checked.

In exchange for taking the deal her misconduct was not investigated by the trust. Parkinson was struck off the nursing register by the Nursing and Midwifery Council in June.

UHMB chief executive Jackie Daniels, who discovered the deal last year, told HSJ it was “irregular” and had not followed formal governance processes.

Sir David Henshaw, who was chair of the Morecambe Bay at the time the deal was signed, said last year he had no knowledge of it.

The Kirkup inquiry into poor maternity care at Morecambe Bay found Ms Parkinson, who dubbed her colleagues “musketeers” in an email, provided “model answers” to her colleagues ahead of an inquest into the death of baby Joshua Titcombe – which the Kirkup inquiry said was “clearly wrong” and led to a “distortion of the process”. The inquiry also set out how Ms Parkinson failed to identify “significant failings” in care. 

Full statement from Warrington and Halton Hospitals Foundation Trust.

In releasing the following information the trust has considered Mr Wilson’s wish that it be withheld from the public domain. Acting in an open, transparent manner and having applied the public interest test, the trust considers that the public interest is better served by disclosure.

Following a referral from University Hospitals Morecambe Bay relating to an irregular payment made to former midwife Jeanette Parkinson by Roger Wilson, their Director of HR&OD at that time, this Trust commenced a comprehensive, independent investigation as his current employer. During the investigation Mr Wilson was formally suspended from office.

One week prior to the formal hearing, Mr Wilson resigned with immediate effect, ie: on 4 May 2017 and the Trust’s employment of him ceased at that point. Nevertheless, the Trust continued to consider the investigation report formally at the planned hearing. Mr. Wilson raised concerns and objections to this process and did not attend the hearing. A decision was reached and sent to him setting out the views formed.

The Trust referred the findings of the investigation and panel decision to the Care Quality Commission under the “fit and proper persons” regulation, where those in public office with director-level responsibility for the quality and safety of care, and for meeting the fundamental standards are fit and proper to carry out this role under Regulation 5 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014.

We await the outcome of the CQC’s deliberations.