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Hospital boss praised by Matt Hancock told to end ‘toxic management culture’

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A hospital boss championed by Matt Hancock has been told to end “a toxic management culture” after doctors were asked to provide fingerprint samples to identify a whistleblower.

The Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) has urged the chief executive of West Suffolk hospital, Steve Dunn, who Hancock described as an “outstanding leader”, to take urgent action to improve the wellbeing of senior clinicians and “thereby the safety of patients”.

In a strongly worded letter sent to Dunn in July, seen by the Guardian, the RCoA president, Prof Ravi Mahajan, reminded him that “undermining and bullying behaviour is unacceptable”.

Following a three-day review of the hospital, Prof Mahajan’s letter said senior anaesthetists had complained about a “toxic management culture that risks impairing their ability to care safely for patients”.

The incident, and other failings in patient safety, contributed to the hospital becoming the first ever to be relegated by Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors from “outstanding” to “requires improvement” in January.

A spokesman for the trust said: “Ensuring our colleagues work in a supportive, safe environment is good for our staff and means better patient care, which is why we have done extensive work this year to act on feedback about our working culture, including taking action to address the concerns raised by the Royal College of Anaesthetists.”

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Source: The Guardian, 11 September 2020

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