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Senior doctors at Barking and Dagenham’s hospital trust speak out against management

PUBLISHED: 07:00 23 November 2017

Queen's Hospital, flagship hospital of the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Queen's Hospital, flagship hospital of the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.

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A group of veteran doctors at Barking and Dagenham’s hospital trust have urged bosses to deal with a host of behind-the-scenes issues they claim have left staff “isolated, intimidated and fearful”.

Matthew Hopkins, chief executive of the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust. Matthew Hopkins, chief executive of the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.

A letter, seen by the Post, highlights a number of serious concerns held by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospital Trust’s (BHRUT’s) Senior Medical Staff Committee (SMSC).

It is addressed to BHRUT chairman Joe Fielder and concludes that “the consultant body has lost confidence in the approach of the current executive leadership”.

Senior consultants are dissatisfied with the level of engagement between doctors “on the shop floor” and the trust’s management.

SMSC chairman Mrinal Saharay said: “Any disagreement is seen as dissent and dealt with in a heavy-handed manner.

“Consultants feel isolated, intimidated and fearful to discuss issues of real concern. As a result morale is low and staff turnover is high.”

The committee was also surprised by news of financial issues at the trust.

BHRUT is having its finances formally investigated by the NHS after it was forced to take out a £15m bail-out loan.

The letter states: “The consultant body is extremely concerned as to how there can be a sudden ‘cash flow shortfall’ requiring a £15m emergency loan from NHS Improvement without any knowledge of the executive team whose job it is to run the hospital, including keeping a close grip on its finances.”

A spokesman confirmed the trust was working to resolve the short-term financial problems, and reiterated the fact that there had been no impact on patient safety.

Mr Fielder has now held “an open and helpful” meeting with BHRUT’s consultants about how the trust’s leadership and consultant body can “move forward together”.

Chief executive Matthew Hopkins added: “I intend to have a renewed and reinvigorated dialogue with my consultant colleagues so that their voice can be heard and valued within the trust.

“One of the ways I will achieve this is by attending, with the chair, a quarterly forum for consultants. This will complement what is already in place for those who wish to raise concerns.

“I am confident that we can continue to work together to improve the quality of care we provide for our patients.”

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