Thursday, 29 September 2011

Is this the end of the road for Christine Green as C.E.O. of Tameside Hospital?

The senior management at Tameside Hospital certainly know how to stage-manage affairs when it comes to publicity stunts. The events are so naff it's unbelievable! Whitewash by the bucketful, excuses on tap, there's no end to it. Despite severe criticism over the years from patients, relatives, official regulators and hospital action groups about the deficiencies in patient care and being millions of pounds in debt, the management somehow, always manage to bounce back.

On Tuesday the red carpet was rolled out to welcome the Duke of Gloucester who officially opened the £112 million new Hartshead South building. During a guided tour of the new building which includes a 48-bed surgical ward, six new operating theatres, a centralised X-ray department and children's unit, the Duke chatted with staff and patients. He then unveiled a plaque to commemorate the official opening of the building which has been admitting patients since November 2010. The Chairman of the Tameside Hospital Foundation Trust, Rev (timorous) Tim Presswood told the local press:

"We were very proud to welcome His Royal Highness and other dignitaries to help celebrate the opening of a very special building."

Two months ago, Presswood, announced that he would be standing down as Chairman of the Board in October. A local Baptist minister, both he and the C.E.O. Christine Green (pictured above), were criticised in a report by the consultants Korn/Ferry/Whitehead Mann, for lacking leadership qualities and it was claimed that the Board were not discussing urgent clinical matters in depth or conducting rigorous debate on key issues. The official regulator 'Monitor' also gave the hospital a 'Red Rating' for lack of governance and the Board was criticised for "failing to identify, challenge and scrutinise problems." The hospital was also criticised for failing to tell Monitor, that a vote of no confidence ballot in hospital management had been conducted by senior medical staff at the hospital.Responding to the criticism, Presswood, - who receives £40,000 for a minimum three-day week - said he "was no Alan Sugar."

At the hospital AGM which took place on Wednesday, timorous Tim, told the meeting:

"I`ve thoroughly enjoyed my time as Chair of Tameside Hospital despite the undoubted challenges, but I`ve other things to do."

The AGM, yet another highly stage-managed affair, usually lasts for an hour with fifteen minutes allotted for questions. After being told by Presswood that the hospital was the most modern in the country which had the support of the majority of people in Tameside and Glossop, we heard that the hospital had a £1.39 million deficit. Perma-tanned, C.E.O. Christine Green, then told us that £4.2 million savings had already been made by the end of August but this was not affecting patient care, but improving the quality of services. Acknowledging that hospital complaints had gone up, she said:

"I welcome these complaints, they`re learning experiences , but we`re getting more letters of support." This then led into yet another power-point presentation entitled: "I`M WRITING TO THANK YOU", which consisted of a montage of letters and press cuttings or highlighted paragraphs, from grateful patients or relatives thanking the hospital for their treatment. After watching the presentation, timorous Tim, said obsequiously: "I have a lump in my throat after watching this."

Had it not been for the awkward squad who turn up at every AGM, it`s doubtful anyone would have asked a critical question. Consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Milton Pena, pointed out that a post in the Radiology Department had been disestablished even though the Head of Radiology had opposed it and added, that consultant levels were at their 1999 levels. LINk member, Paul Broadhurst, thanked Mrs. Green for the letter he`d received from the hospital solicitor "warning me off" and when Rod McCord, from the Tameside Hospital Action Group (THAG), asked Ms. Green if she could confirm or deny reports that an interim C.E.O., was about to take over from her, this elicited canned laughter from the claque, a group of nurses at the back of the hall, but no comment from Mrs. Green, who deftly avoided the question.

After being reassured by one nurse that patient care was not being affected by the hospital cuts, Anne, a hospital employee, pleaded with the hospital's critics to stop 'scaremongering'. Tearful and emotional at times, she said:

"Members of the public who write to the press are scaremongering. You disparage the staff which tends to lower morale. People at my church express fear and ask me if it is safe to go into Tameside Hospital."

Though Anne received applause from some in the audience, one couldn`t help but feel rather sorry for her. Even she must have been aware that most criticism over the years has been directed at the senior management who run the hospital and not as she would have us believe, the staff who work within the hospital. And this criticism has come not just from the public, but from the local coroner, the press and media, regulatory bodies like the CQC and Monitor as well as from local MP's and councillor's.

In a recent report, Mr. Pena, as Chairman of the Senior Medical Staff Committee at the hospital, wrote of a "culture of bullying and intimidation that pervades the Trust" and of hospital employees being afraid to ask critical questions. He also accused the Board and senior management of lacking capability and leadership and of failing to provide integrated governance. With the departure of the Chairman of the Board Tim Presswood and Adrian Griffiths, the Director of Clinical Services, is this now the end of the road for the hospital's C.E.O. Christine Green?

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