MP hits out over key Blackpool hospital appointment

Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Blackpool Victoria Hospital
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Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden today raised concerns about the appointment of a new hospital chief and called for the recruitment process to be more transparent.


Candidates for the role of chairman at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will be interviewed later this week following the departure of previous chairman Ian Johnson in January.

Mr Marsden has written to the Trust saying he feared the process had been rushed, and questioned the presence of chief executive Wendy Swift on the nominations panel.

He said: “Given the continued concerns about NHS hospitals and in particular some recent issues, it is crucial the recruitment of a new chairman is seen as unrushed and properly transparent.

“In this case there seems to have been a lack of detailed information to key stakeholders and the timing seems to me to be very rushed.

“There are also concerns that could be raised about the appropriateness of having the chief executive on the nominations board as this is highly unusual.

“These are all reasons for a much closer look at the process even if it means it is delayed.”

But hospital chiefs said the Trust had “undertaken a full, open and transparent process” which began in February.

A spokesman for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “The process included consultation with stakeholders and will culminate with interviews in the next few days.

“The appointment is a governor decision and the governors’ interview panel will make recommendations to the full council of governors.

“It is not an appointment undertaken by the chief executive or the non-executive directors of the Trust.”

A spokesperson for the recruitment company (Gatenby-Sanderson) confirmed the process has been run to a standard timeframe.

Mr Johnson, who stepped aside to become chairman of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust. was paid £45,000 to £50,000 in 2016/17.