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Director quits troubled NHS agency

Published on: 29 Mar 2023

A key executive at an NHS agency which is embroiled in allegations of racism has announced his resignation, HSJ has learned.

David Rose, NHS Blood and Transplant’s director of donor experience and communications since 2020, is understood to have told senior staff of his resignation on Monday.

Mr Rose was a key figure in the organisation’s efforts to improve relations with ethnic minority staff, as he was the executive sponsor for the agency’s group for racial equality.

There is no suggestion of racism allegations or wrongdoing against Mr Rose. One source at NHSBT believed there had been disagreements with other senior figures about how to change the organisation, although this is not confirmed.

Earlier this month, HSJ revealed an internal report which said there had been “deliberate attempts” to conceal racism at NHSBT since a hard-hitting review exposed problems at one of its major sites in 2020. The report heavily criticised the lack of progress made against key recommendations which had been made to improve the culture.

This week, ongoing tensions within the organisation around that 2020 review have been revealed, including efforts to challenge some of its findings.

NHSBT said Mr Rose’s departure was not connected to these issues or developments, and the timing was a coincidence. It said he has been planning to leave for some time, but was not currently in a position to confirm a new role.

A spokeswoman said: “David has been at NHSBT for nearly three years. He has a long notice period and will be helping onboard a successor over the summer.”

It is understood his notice period runs until the end of July.

Mr Rose previously worked at Starbucks Coffee Company, and his role at NHSBT involved a focus on recruiting more blood donors who are of Black heritage. NHSBT said there are now 40 per cent more blood donors of Black heritage than pre-pandemic, which has been crucial to boost stocks of rare blood types.