• Roger Wilson, HR director at Warrington and Halton Hospitals Foundation Trust, has resigned
  • He signed a deal with Morecambe Bay midwife which allowed her to avoid misconduct investigation
  • Mr Wilson’s resignation comes ahead of trust investigation into “irregular” payoff deal

A hospital director who is under scrutiny for his role in an “irregular” departure deal for a midwife at the centre of the Morecambe Bay care scandal has resigned.

Roger Wilson, director of human resources and organisational development at Warrington and Halton Hospitals Foundation Trust, resigned from his trust with immediate effect on 4 May, HSJ has learned.

His resignation comes as an internal hearing is ongoing at the trust. This was begun after it emerged Mr Wilson had signed terms of departure with Morecambe Bay midwife Jeannette Parkinson in 2012. At that time Mr Wilson held the same role at the Morecambe Bay trust.

Ms Parkinson’s depature has been described by Morecambe Bay’s current chief executive as “irregular”. An investigation at the Morecambe Bay trust raised issues about the deal, including in relation to governance, significant sums paid to the midwife, and a clause that the trust would not investigate her alleged misconduct.

Ms Parkinson is still facing an investigation by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

In a statement to HSJ in October last year Mr Wilson said he had been “extremely distressed” by media coverage of the situation, and added: “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.”

After the concerns emerged from Morecambe Bay last year, Warrington and Halton Hospitals Foundation Trust launched an investigation after meeting with the Care Quality Commission, and receiving a referral under the fit and proper person test regulations.

A summary of Morecambe Bay’s investigation into the deal said she received 14 months’ redundancy pay, when she was entitled to only one month, and more than 470 hours of overtime pay which had not been checked.

Ms Parkinson was criticised in the Kirkup report in 2015, which examined maternity failures leading to the avoidable deaths of at least 11 babies and one mother at Furness General Hospital in Cumbria.

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

The midwives were later criticised by a coroner for colluding over evidence given, the Kirkup report said.

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

The deal came to light in an investigation instigated by current Morecambe Bay chief executive Jackie Daniel, who said at the time: “I am desperately disappointed that we have got a midwife here who was not investigated by the trust and that was a massive missed opportunity.

“We have taken this report through our board to satisfy myself this couldn’t happen under current arrangements and I am satisfied that it wouldn’t.”

Warrington and Halton Hospitals said in a statement: ”Mr Wilson was facing an internal hearing, which is still in process and has not yet concluded; therefore it is not appropriate for us to comment further. We can however confirm that Mr Roger Wilson resigned from the Trust on the 4th May with immediate effect.”