Cllr blasts fact that innocent hospital staff were placed in ‘firing line’

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Two out of four senior managers at the Southport & Ormskirk Hospital Trust who were suspended on full pay for a year have been completely exonerated, it has finally been announced (the decisions were taken a good week ago) by the Trust.
Local Lib Dem NHS Spokesperson, Councillor Tony Dawson says:
“The two senior Trust managers against whom disciplinary findings have been confirmed still have a right of appeal both internally and to the courts, so it would be wrong to presume anything about their fault at the moment. But what we can see is that someone caused a small fortune to be spent on three inquiries which left the hospital without valuable staff and causinglocal NHS funds to be drained of tens of thousands of pounds by paying people who had done nothing wrong to sit at home for a year.
“Two valued NHS employees who had given many years of service to the local hospital were publicly placed in the firing line and hung out to dry in the public gaze for a year when they were apparently without fault.
“Surely, the Inquiry which now needs to be held is into the competence and actions of the people who decided to suspend the four managers in the way that they did originally. More importantly, the Care Quality Commission Report into the hospital is due out any day. If faults have been found – and I expect there to be several – with our local hospital then we have to ask how many of these faults can be put down to those who caused such monumental disruption in the hospital through this stretched-out disciplinary fiasco.”

Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust has confirmed today that the disciplinary hearings in respect of allegations against the former Director of Human Resources, Sharon Partington, and the former Chief Operating Officer, Sheilah Finnegan, have now concluded.


Ms Partington resigned and Mrs Finnegan retired from the Trust’s employment prior to the conclusion of the disciplinary process.  However, due to the nature of the allegations and their seniority, the Trust was obliged to complete the disciplinary process, asking the disciplinary panels to consider what, if any action, would have been taken if the individuals had remained employed by the Trust.


Following Ms Partington’s disciplinary hearing, it was determined that the former Director of Human Resources would have been dismissed as a consequence of gross misconduct had she remained in employment.  Ms Partington has the right of appeal against the decision.


The decision follows the outcome of a disciplinary hearing which reviewed eight allegations of misconduct.  The disciplinary panel found evidence on six counts of misconduct, one of which amounted to gross misconduct.


The independent disciplinary panel considered three allegations of misconduct against Mrs Finnegan and determined that the allegations were not proven.  The disciplinary panel recommended that had Ms Finnegan remained in employment no disciplinary sanction would have been imposed on her.


The disciplinary panel hearing the allegations against Mrs Finnegan did note that the case involved serious matters arising from whistleblowing complaints.  The panel noted that the Trust “had no option but to instigate a thorough investigation” under the relevant policy and then to refer the outcome of the investigation to a disciplinary hearing.


The panels’ recommendations have been fully accepted by the Trust Board.


Trust Chair, Mrs Sue Musson, said: “The overriding objective for the Trust has been to handle this very serious and complex matter appropriately and fairly.  I want to thank the panels for conducting the hearings and reviewing all the evidence so diligently.  With the conclusion of these hearings, the four disciplinary cases involving Trust senior staff are now complete (subject to appeal).  The Board continues to focus on our key priority, delivering high quality, sustainable healthcare services to our local population.


“I would like, again, to acknowledge the bravery of the individuals who came forward and spoke out about their concerns. Following this difficult time for everyone concerned, the Trust now has an opportunity to focus on the future”.



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