Jobs withdrawn from former trust chief amid investigations

Published: 04 Jan 2018 By Shaun Lintern

His job with healthcare software company Draper and Dash has also been withdrawn.

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This follows serious concerns emerging about culture and governance at the foundation trust under Mr Allison’s leadership, and with internal and regulatory investigations under way.

HSJ reports today on further concerns raised at a senior level: that staff at the trust did not speak up about allegations of sexual harassment of junior doctors, and claims of bullying within the accident and emergency department.

The trust told HSJ it had launched an investigation into claims about widespread bullying in A&E which, it is understood, emerged after an anonymous note was sent to directors in October by nursing staff in the department.

The trust’s A&E was among the worst performing departments in the country on the four hours waiting target for the first five months of the 2017-18 financial year.

A trust spokeswoman said: “A commissioned report is currently underway. As this is ongoing, the trust will not be commenting further.”

NHS Improvement has confirmed this week it is planning to launch an investigation of the trust which will consider wider cultural, governance and management allegations raised by senior directors.

This investigation will be overseen by an NHS Improvement director. Concerns were raised with NHS Improvement in November, but it did not decide to begin an investigation until HSJ raised the issue on 21 December.

The trust’s director of finance David Jago, chief operating officer Janelle Holmes, interim director of nursing Denise Price, and medical director Susan Gilby had previously raised serious allegations about Mr Allison with the trust chairman Michael Carr.

When no action was taken, three directors blew the whistle to NHS Improvement over wider internal governance and cultural issues under Mr Allison and Mr Carr.

Concerns were also raised about Mr Allison’s role as a special adviser on the board of software company Draper and Dash, which he joined in November, without the knowledge of his board including the chairman.

As previously reported, HSJ has seen evidence that days after his appointment by the firm, and before departing the trust, Mr Allison tried to arrange meetings between the company and managers at the trust.

However, Draper and Dash managing director Orlando Agrippa said he had no knowledge of the allegations made against Mr Allison when the appointment was made, and that it was a requirement that NHS executives joining the company had approval from their trust’s leadership.

He said: “David is no longer part of Draper and Dash as a result of some of the paperwork not being processed properly. We can’t pay anyone unless they have the right approvals from the NHS.”

He said Mr Allison would be paid no money for the “short period” he was with the business.

Mr Agrippa said the company had a policy not to sell to NHS trusts whose executives were on the firm’s board and said he was not aware of any actions by Mr Allison to secure business for the company.

Mr Allison had been expected to take up a temporary secondment with NHS Improvement, however, the regulator yesterday confirmed to HSJ: “Mr Allison will now not be moving to a secondment at NHS Improvement.”

A spokeswoman for NHS Improvement added: “The review we will be launching will be independent of the trust and will be overseen by a senior director of NHS Improvement.

“While its detailed formal terms of reference are subject to further discussions, the intention is that it will look at the issues raised by staff within the trust, and about how those issues were handled. That will include how the trust handled specific allegations of sexual misconduct.”

Mr Allison has been approached for comment.

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