Derbyshire NHS chief branded female colleague a ‘whore’ after she snubbed his sexual advances

Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust's headquarters.
Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust's headquarters.
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A health watchdog is investigating an NHS trust after a sexual harassment employment tribunal identified “significant issues”.

Government regulator Monitor is probing Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to see if there are other problems with the way the organisation is run.

It comes after a tribunal ruled former trust chairman Alan Baines had sexually harassed HR director Helen Marks and that she was was unfairly dismissed.

The hearing in Nottingham found Mrs Marks had been harassed after refusing to have sexual relations with him.

It heard when she refused he turned against her, abusing his position and suspending her without justification.

Mr Baines also sent her “a barrage of nasty texts” including one calling her a “whore”.

He was described in the tribunal’s findings as a “bully and manipulator”.

The tribunal also found the trust’s chief executive Professor Steve Trenchard protected Mr Baines, who was allowed to retire with his “good name” intact. The trust has now suspended Prof Trenchard from his job.

Alexandra Coull, deputy regional director for Monitor, said: “The employment tribunal identified some significant issues and as a result we believe it is right for us to examine how well the trust is being run on behalf of its patients. We want to understand the underlying causes of the problems identified by the employment tribunal and find out whether the trust needs to make improvements to the way it is being run.”

In a statement, the trust said: “We welcome Monitor’s involvement and support as we seek to strengthen our systems of governance.

“We have developed an action plan to identify improvements in our policies, procedures and structures.”

The trust’s website states: “We are the leading provider of mental health, learning disabilities and substance misuse services in Derby city and Derbyshire county.

“We also provide a wide range of children’s services.

“We employ more than 2,500 staff based in 100 locations across the whole of Derbyshire. “Across the county and the city, we serve a combined population of approximately one million people.”

The website adds: “Our strapline, Better Together, reflects the trust’s ethos of collaborative working, with our service users, carers, partners and staff to collectively improve health and wellbeing.”

The trust was established in February 2011.

Its headquarters are based at Kingsway in Derby.