Hospitals' former leader hits out at chief executive
THE former chairman of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT) has hit out at its chief executive after reports emerged detailing the reasons for his departure.
Martin Watts resigned from his position as chairman in June. Reports have now emerged alleging how Mr Watts "intimidated" staff and became angry with a nurse caring for his elderly mother-in-law.
Mr Watts has welcomed the publication of the reports, eventually released by the NHS Trust Development Authority after a freedom of information request from the BBC.
In the report relating to Mr Watts's behaviour towards the nurse caring for his mother-in-law, a witness said he was "aggressive and threatening" and the nurse was described as "absolutely distraught ... and concerned for (her) job".
Mr Watts said the general standard of care had been excellent but challenged a staff nurse over her attitude towards his mother-in-law.
A second report heard Mr Watts was accused of "on two occasions taking hold of the member of staff by (the) arms", "causing intimidation by not respecting personal boundaries and "being unfairly/unduly critical of aspects of performance".
Mr Watts said the accuracy and balance of that report was "badly flawed and inaccurate" due to a failure to interview key witnesses.
The departure of Mr Watts precipitated the collapse of the RCHT board, with three other resignations by non-executive members.
Mr Watts is now questioning the role of RCHT chief executive Lezli Boswell in the management of the situation.
Mr Watts said: "Why was it that Lezli Boswell managed this matter for six months in such a way that it resulted in not only the RCHT chairman being forced to resign on June 19 but that it also led to three other widely experienced, high calibre non-executive directors, to independently make their decision to also resign from the trust board on June 27?"
Mrs Boswell said: "Two independent reports upheld complaints against Martin Watts under the trust's dignity at work policy, following which he resigned from his post as chairman. The trust has a new chairman – Angela Ballatti – who is working with the NHS Trust Development Authority on the recruitment of good candidates to the vacant non-executive roles. Our priority remains firmly focused on maintaining and continually improving patient care."