Sackings warning to health chiefs:


Published Date: 28 October 2008

By Susan Stephenson

BOSSES at Scarborough Health Trust could be given the sack if they fail to turn the organisation around.

Government ministers are drawing up a list of NHS trusts that will be handed to new management, including private sector firms, if they do not improve.

Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Healthcare Trust, along with North Yorkshire and York Primary Care Trust (PCT), are likely to be among those issued with the most urgent warnings after being given the lowest possible rating by a health watchdog earlier this month.

Under the plans, chief executives and their boards would be sacked without pay-offs.

Between 30 and 40 trusts across the country will be labelled as "underperforming" in a list to be published before Christmas.

Around six of them likely to include Scarborough heath trust and the local PCT will be classed as "seriously underperforming". If they have not improved by April, they will be deemed "challenged" and their entire boards could be sacked within a matter of months.

A spokesman for Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Healthcare Trust explained that the trust is currently operating with an interim chief executive, Christine Green, and is looking to recruit somebody to take on the role permanently.

They added: "These proposals relate to permanent chief executives and would not affect someone on a short-term contract."

Despite ongoing financial problems, bosses at the trust insist that they are confident in achieving a budget surplus of about £2 million by the end of the financial year.

Nicholas Steele, the PCT's acting chief executive, said: "We recognise the need to improve our rating in the recently published Healthcare Commission Report and we are taking the necessary actions to achieve this.

"As part of the self assessment process we highlighted a number of areas where we felt our performance could be improved and we have put measures in place to ensure we are compliant against these standards.

"Although we fully acknowledge the result given by the Healthcare Commission, it is important to highlight the ongoing hard work of staff across the organisation."

But the possibility of private managers being brought in has caused public concerns about patient care as the least profitable services are cut.

Scarborough's MP Robert Goodwill said: "The fear is that hatchet men will come in and basically cut services drastically and compromise patient care."

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