The most senior consultant at the Royal Cornwall Hospital has resigned from the board. Medical director Paul Upton is now the fifth member of the management team of one of the region's biggest hospitals to stand down.
The most senior consultant on the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, Dr Paul Upton, has become the fifth member of the board to resign from his position within two months.
In a statement, the trust said Dr Upton would continue his clinical and other duties within the organisation:
Dr Paul Upton has today decided to step aside as Medical Director of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust and give up his position on the Trust Board.
This move has been taken following the General Medical Council’s decision to begin a preliminary investigation into historic decision making at the Trust over the last decade in the case of a former Consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology.
Dr Upton has made a valuable contribution to the Trust and we do not want to lose his talents and skills within the organisation.
We have therefore agreed he will continue to play an important role in transforming services, including his excellent work on improving the clinical environment for patients and staff.
His new role, alongside his clinical commitments as an anaesthetist, will be as Director of Transformation which will commence with immediate effect.We have appointed as Interim Medical Director – Dr Duncan Browne - and we plan to immediately go out to advert for a substantive Medical Director appointment.
– Lezli Boswell, Chief Executive, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
The most senior consultant on the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust has become the fifth member of the board to resign from his position within two months.
Paul Upton’s decision comes in the wake of an investigation by the General Medical Council into historic decision making in the organisation in the case of the former consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Rob Jones.
Mr Jones was suspended in May last year following a number of reviews into his clinical competency.
The Trust has appointed an Dr Duncan Browne as Interim Medical Director and says it plans to advertise for Medical Director appointment as-soon-as-possible.
A new interim chair has been appointed for the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust.
Angela Ballatti will take up the post in early July. She will bring over 15 years’ experience as a Chair of NHS boards across the country to this challenging role.
She has been chair at Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust for 6 years between 2006 and 2012. Prior to this she was a Chair of County Durham and Darlington Acute Hospitals and North Durham Healthcare NHS Trusts in the North East for nearly 9 years.
It is a great privilege to be asked to take the chairmanship role at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust. The organisation has clearly made great strides in improving services for the people of Cornwall over the last few years and I am looking forward to providing the stable board leadership to the Trust that will enable them to build on that success. I am looking forward to working closely with Lezli Boswell and all of the staff at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust.
– Angela Ballatti, new interim chair of Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust
I appreciate that the events of the last few weeks may have been unsettling time for people in Cornwall. That is exactly why we have appointed such an experienced Chair as Angela Ballatti. I am hugely confident that she is exactly what is needed to provide that crucial stability and focus that is needed on the Board at the Trust.
– Chairman of the NHS Trust Development Authority, Sir Peter Carr
I served as a non-executive director and chair of the audit committee of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust for almost four years until yesterday, when, with extreme sadness, I concluded that I could no longer fulfil the essential oversight and assurance role which is that of the independently appointed non-executive. I very much hope and expect that the progress made in recent years towards strengthening the organisation and ensuring high quality health care for Cornwall will be continued.
– Resignation statement by Sue Hall, former Non Executive Director of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust
The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust is in more turmoil today as two more board members have resigned.
It now means four out of seven non-executive board directors have resigned in the last week.
This comes after Interim Chairman, Mike Higgins, resigned from his position yesterday.
Earlier this week, the former chairman of the trust said he will start a legal fight, after claiming he was forced to resign from his job. Martin Watts, who had recently extended his contract for a further four years, resigned on Wednesday after a complaint about his behaviour.
He says he was forced to step down after a colleague objected to him touching her on the shoulder.
Below is one of the resignation letters written to David Flory, Chief Executive of the NHS Trust Development Authority, who carried out the initial investigation involving Martin Watts.
After 41 years working in the NHS, i feel that it is now necessary to sever my links and resign from my post as Associate Non-executive Director at the Royal Cornwall Hospital. Over the last difficult weeks, I have tried to establish common ground to keep the show on the road but have failed in this regard.....
– Letter of resignation from Professor Sir Roger Boyle CBE
....Following the departure of our chair and then our interim chair, i expected and hoped for a conciliatory Part 2 meeting today but I fear that relationships between executive and non-executive functions have now been damaged beyond repair in this particular organisation. It is with a heavy heart that I now tender my resignation from the Board with immediate effect and join Sue Hall on the sidelines.
I wish you the best of luck in the process of re-establishing Board functions.
– cont'd Letter of resignation from Professor Sir Roger Boyle CBE
The recent resignations from within the non-executive team will have no impact on the way the senior executive team, medical management and senior consultants work together. Patient care will not be affected by these changes and the business of the hospital will continue as normal. These events are unfortunately timed but will not impact adversely on our clinical performance as a trust or our ability to move forward with our development.
– Dr Will Faux, Chair of the RCHT Senior Staff Committee
We can confirm that Mike Higgins has decided to resign as interim Chairman of Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust. Clearly, this is disappointing but we continue to work with the NHS Trust Development Authority on both the interim arrangements and the permanent appointment of a new Chairman of Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust. We are committed to ensuring that all our staff feel able to raise any concerns they have, with the assurance that those concerns will be dealt with appropriately. We will not be distracted from our duties of continuing to provide excellent patient care.
– Spokesperson for the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust