Senior Russells Hall Hospital staff raise concerns in damning letter
Senior medical staff at Russells Hall Hospital have hit out over ‘bullying, bed closures, and failure to investigate urgent patient safety’.
A damning letter, signed by 42 workers and addressed to Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust chairman Jenni Ord, raises concerns about the ‘professional conduct of the senior executives of the trust board’.
It also highlights fears surrounding poor clinical engagement, the deteriorating clinical and financial performance of the trust, and adverse effects on patient safety and staff well-being.
The letter calls for the non-executive directors of the trust board to take action.
The letter, seen by the Express & Star, states: “We, the undersigned, are writing to raise concerns about the senior management team at Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust.
“Following the appointment of Diane Wake as CEO, there were a number of resignations from the executive board, some at very short notice, which affected the continuity and experience of the team. Subsequently, there has been a significant deterioration in leadership style.
“Individual members or groups of staff are increasingly blamed for systematic failings. A culture of bullying and intimidation has rapidly developed, where staff are afraid to raise concerns in case they are scapegoated.
“This is having a very negative effect on staff morale, patient care and the safety agenda. We no longer have confidence in the executive director team to deliver the leadership that the trust needs.
“We urge you to step in to ensure the proper management of the trust for the sake of our patients and the clinical teams who care for them.”
Ms Ord said: “I can confirm I have received a letter of concern from some members of our medical team.
“The concerns will be fully investigated by NHS Improvement to ensure independence.
“The trust executive welcome and support this. The trust has worked hard to ensure there are different ways of raising concerns. Staff can raise concerns either formally or informally with their line manager, lead clinician or tutor.
“Raising concerns about any aspect of work is vital if an organisation is to learn and move forward. The trust recognises that individuals may not want to speak up but we actively encourage staff to raise concerns in a no blame or recrimination culture.
“We welcome concerns being raised no matter how big or small and are focused on the benefits from voicing concerns as a way to learn, make changes and improve the working place for our staff and ensure the safety of our patients and visitors. We have a robust whistleblowing policy that clearly communicates how staff should raise their concerns.
“However, on occasion staff may feel they cannot do that and have several routes to raise their concerns.
“We are also appointing champions for speaking up to support the freedom to speak up guardians.”