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NHSE ‘seeking resolution’ over suspended medical director

Published on: 12 Feb 2024

NHS England is working with a mental health trust in the Midlands to “seek a resolution” after the sudden suspension of its medical director, which prompted two ‘no confidence’ votes in the board.

A group of consultants at Black Country Healthcare Foundation Trust sent a letter – seen by HSJ – to the NHSE Midlands regional team after the “no confidence” votes were “ignored” by trust leaders.

The votes were held by the medical advisory committee at the end of last year after they were told in an email that chief medical officer Mark Weaver was stepping down. Dr Weaver remains off work and an interim CMO Jayanth Srinivas appointed from neighbouring Midlands Partnership Trust.

The consultants, who wished to remain anonymous, wrote: “For more than twelve months we have been concerned about the director and leadership of our trust board, which has become increasingly corporate, performance and finance dominated…Recently and suddenly the CMO, a consistent advocate for clinical services and putting patients first, was removed from his role.”

They added: “To add to our dismay and disappointment, when the chair and CEO were invited to a scheduled MAC meeting on 13 December they did not acknowledge the ‘no confidence’ vote and ignored the issue completely.

“None of the processes to ensure the trust leadership listens, acts in response to concerns and is held to account seems to be working at all.”

A spokesperson for NHS England in the Midlands said: “We treat all concerns raised seriously and confidentially.”

“We are aware of concerns within Black Country Healthcare FT and are working closely with all relevant stakeholders in order to seek a resolution to the issues raised.”

HSJ revealed last year a series of serious incidents at the trust were being investigation by the Care Quality Commission and a referral made to the police. Incidents included staff sleeping in a patient’s bed, an information governance breach involving a senior member of staff and inappropriate sexual behaviour.

BCHFT was then investigated by the CQC, who found that trust had taken appropriate action by suspending staff involved.

BCHT has been approached for comment.