Morecambe Bay health trust chief: ‘No gagging order’
Last updated at 16:25, Friday, 01 March 2013
A GAGGING order has not been imposed on a former hospital boss to prevent him speaking out about safety issues, the health chief who oversaw his resignation has said.
Sir David Henshaw, interim chairman of the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, spoke to board members about the issue as the national scandal surrounding the silencing of NHS employees continued.
It came after Gary Walker, former chief executive of the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, broke a £500,000 gagging clause to expose major problems there.
At UHMBT’s February board meeting, Sir David reassured members no similar situation existed between the trust and former chief executive, Tony Halsall.
UHMBT has a confidential compromise agreement with Mr Halsall which covers information such as whether he worked and was paid for his six months notice.
But, Sir David said: “Within that agreement, there is no provision for any gagging of any views of the previous chief executive, which would prevent him from raising any concerns about safety or quality.
“There can be no suggestion at any level that we have in any way gagged anybody. We do not do that.
“I want to lay to rest the myth that seems to be developing that we are somehow related to that.”
Sir David also reconfirmed Mr Halsall had not received any money beyond his contractual entitlement.
He added: “I just thought it would be worth reiterating that, because it doesn’t seem to get through sometimes.”
Sir David’s comments come as figures show the increasing demand for answers from the trust.
UHMBT expects to have received 290 Freedom of Information requests by the end of the financial year.
That is up from 267 in 2011/12, 220 in 2010, 190 in 2009 and 170 in 2008. A temporary staff member is being recruited to help with the requests and existing employees trained by a legal specialist.
In five cases, UHMBT solicitors have handled internal reviews for people unhappy with the responses they received. Two were from journalists, including one from the Evening Mail, regarding Mr Halsall’s departure from the trust. Two were from members of the public regarding the accuracy of information provided about maternity statistics and trust finances. The fifth is ongoing.
Of these, three, including the Evening Mail case, have been referred to the Information Commissioner.
First published at 15:28, Friday, 01 March 2013
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Have your say
Gagging Order? who from NHS or NWEM?