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Anger as Stafford Hospital scandal chief gets new NHS job

By David Cosgrove | Stafford | Health | Published:

‘For him to be reappointed to a position of leadership is a huge disappointment – he was at the top of a rotten culture’.

Sir David Nicholson has been given a new NHS role

Healthcare campaigner Julie Bailey has said she is ‘appalled’ that Sir David Nicholson has been given another job in the NHS after his involvement in the Stafford Hospital scandal.

Sir David, aged 63, was head of the West Midlands Health Authority for a short period while patients were mistreated.

He was later appointed as NHS England chief executive but then stepped down in 2014.

Sir David was last week appointed as interim chairman of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Kidderminster Hospital.

Campaigner Julie Bailey said she is ‘appalled’ by Sir David’s new role

Miss Bailey, who exposed neglect at Stafford Hospital after her mother died there in 2007, said: “I’ve felt sick since I found out – it’s really hit me badly.

“For him to be reappointed to a position of leadership after all the work that has been done to expose failings in the NHS is a huge disappointment.

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“He was at the top of a rotten culture.

“He might be good at balancing the books and meeting targets but regarding patient care he’s not the man you want as a leader.

“It is a real indictment to think that there is no-one better in the NHS, even after all these years, and I’m appalled really.

“[Appointing Sir David] suggests the culture he presided over was acceptable.”

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Julie Bailey's mother died at Stafford Hospital in 2007

Sir David faced intense scrutiny following the publication of a public inquiry into Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, which ran Stafford Hospital.

He was in charge of the regional health authority responsible for the trust for a short period while patients were being mistreated.

Inquiries into the fiasco revealed hundreds more people died at the trust than would have been expected.

Some patients were left lying in urine and excrement for days, or given the wrong medication.

A 2009 investigation by the Healthcare Commission found between 400 and 1,200 more people died at the trust than would have been expected.

Robert Francis QC, chair of the public inquiry, highlighted the ‘appalling and unnecessary suffering’ of hundreds of patients.

Sir David retired with a £1.9 million pension pot and has reportedly been advising private sector companies since 2014.

NHS Improvement chief executive Ian Dalton – who appointed Sir David to his role at the Worcestershire trust – said: “David brings huge expertise at both national and regional level.

“I know he is absolutely focused on improving patient care, and looking forward to getting underneath some of the difficult issues to see what positive changes can be brought about.

"Making sustainable quality improvements and getting the trust on to a stronger financial footing will be priorities, working closely with the chief executive and wider leadership team.”

Michelle McKay, the chief executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said: “His knowledge and understanding of the challenges we face in this trust and across the wider health and care system will, I am sure, be enormously helpful to our efforts to secure safe, high quality hospital services for the people of Worcestershire, as well as the work we are doing to move to a position of sustainable financial balance.

“We are looking forward to his joining us next week and I am sure he will very quickly make a positive impact on the trust.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Mark Yates, who stepped up to the role of acting chairman following the departure of Caragh Merrick, and will continue in his non-executive director role with us.”

David Cosgrove

By David Cosgrove
Chief Reporter - @davidcosgrove_

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