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NHSE’s ‘institutionalised’ firing of CEOs contributed to ‘major service failure’

An “institutionalised” and “counterproductive” system of hiring and firing trust leaders was a contributory factor to care failings which caused the death of at least 45 babies an inquiry has concluded. 

The inquiry into maternity care at East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust, chaired by Bill Kirkup, discovered what it described as the latest ”major service failure” in NHS maternity care. It concluded that successive chairs and chief executives were “wrong” to believe the trust had provided adequate care for more than a decade and urged they be held accountable. But he added the churn of senior management had been “wholly counterproductive” for the trust.

His report said: “We have found at chief executive, chair and other levels a pattern of hiring and firing, initiated by NHS England. The practice may never have been an explicit policy, but it has become institutionalised. In response to difficult problems, pressure is placed on a trust’s chair to replace the chief executive, and/or to stand down themself."

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Source: HSJ, 20 October 2022 (paywalled)


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