Watchdog steps in to improve leadership at Derbyshire health trust

Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust's headquarters.
Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust's headquarters.

A Derbyshire health trust has agreed a number of steps to improve its leadership after an investigation by health watchdogs Monitor.

Following the outcome of an employment tribunal last year, the health sector regulator investigated the way the trust is run and whether lessons could be learned from the serious issues identified during the tribunal and from other subsequent independent reviews.

The trust, with Monitor’s support, has now appointed a new interim chair and has agreed to develop and implement a plan to improve the way the organisation is led and run on behalf of its patients.

It has also agreed to implement the recommendations of an independent review into its leadership, as well as the recommendations of its internal review following the tribunal.

The trust has agreed to improve the effectiveness of its board, ensure there is appropriate scrutiny of decisions by its leadership, and develop better HR processes. It will also make sure there is better engagement with its Council of Governors who represent foundation trust members and the local community.

The changes come about after an employment tribunal last year ruled that the trust’s former HR director Helen Marks had been sexually harassed by the organisation’s ex-chairman Alan Baines and was unfairly dismissed.

Mrs Marks was awarded £832,000 in compensation.

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Alexandra Coull, Deputy Regional Director at Monitor, said: “The employment tribunal and independent reviews highlighted serious concerns about the leadership of this trust. Under the new leadership, the trust will make changes to the way the organisation is run which will result in improvements for patients.

“By having better leadership, governor engagement, and improved HR processes, the trust will be able to make sure that any decisions it makes are in the best interests of its patients and will help it to continue to provide quality care in an effective way.”

Monitor will continue to work closely with the trust to help it make the changes needed.