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Review reveals trust’s ‘deep-seated’ cultural and governance issues

One of the NHS’ most high-profile mental health trusts has ‘multiple’ corporate governance problems and ‘deep-seated’ cultural issues, according to an external review.

Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health, educational and training services in London, commissioned an external firm to look into its leadership amid a period of intense public scrutiny in the latter half of 2021.

Among cultural issues identified at the trust, which reviewers described as “deep seated”, was a reluctance of staff to speak up about concerns.

Assessors said a recent employment tribunal, which ruled the trust’s treatment of a whistleblower had damaged her professional reputation and “prevented her from proper work on safeguarding”, had impacted the ability of staff to raise concerns.

They urged leaders to review their Freedom to Speak Up and whistleblowing procedures. 

And while reviewers commended board members for commissioning an external review of race equality, they said it had “yielded an outpouring of emotion” which suggested many staff from minority ethnic groups do not feel consistently supported, respected or valued.

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Source: HSJ, 25 January 2022


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