The Department of Health has completely cleared East Midlands strategic health authority of bullying and harassing United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust.

NHS chief executive David Nicholson said he accepted the conclusions of an independent review that there was “no evidence whatsoever of bullying or harassment of the trust by the SHA”.

A summary of the review, led by independent consultant and former SHA chief executive Neil Goodwin, said the SHA’s approach to dealing with problems faced by the trust was “fair, consistent with its own procedures, equitable and patient”.

The report, published moments ago, follows a lengthy investigation into the claims, which were brought by former trust chair David Bowles in July after a row over government targets.

Almost 160 documents relating to the allegations were reviewed, and almost 50 interviews conducted, with the report concluding that there was no evidence that the SHA’s style of leadership was characterised by bullying and harassment.

In an accompanying letter, NHS chief executive David Nicholson said based on the conclusions of the report it was clear that the SHA had acted “appropriately throughout”.

“It is vital that the local NHS now draws a line under these allegations, and focuses on how best to work together in the interests of their patients and the public,” he said.

Visit throughout the day for responses to the report.