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Longest-serving chief exec in NHS sacked for ‘gross misconduct’

Published on 18/08/17 at 09:15am

Newcastle upon Tyne Hospital’s Chief Executive, Leonard Fenwick, has been sacked from his position after a disciplinary panel adjudged he had exhibited bullying and abusive behaviour. Fenwick had worked at the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS FT (NUT) since 1977 but had been put on gardening leave since January 2017.

A two-day hearing was convened to hear evidence against Fenwick; the trust failed to disclose what had been alleged but suggested that the allegations related to “inappropriate behaviour, use of resources and a range of governance issues were proven”.

The reasons why full details of the case were not disclosed due to an on-going investigation by the NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service. Of the situation that led to the charges against him, Fenwick told the BBC that it had been “an orchestrated witch hunt”.

“Sir Leonard appealed against the panel’s decision to dismiss him on the grounds of gross misconduct,” a spokesperson for NUT said. “A second and different panel was convened to hear his appeal, and after further careful, lengthy and detailed consideration the panel has decided to uphold the original disciplinary panel’s decision.”

The original decision to place Fenwick on leave came shortly an investigation found that two consultants working at NUT had been suspended for engaging in sexual activities, only to be reinstated by other members of staff. The two consultants at the heart of investigation have since resigned from their positions.

The NUT has denied that the extended leave leading directly to his dismissal had anything to do with Fenwick’s position to suspend the consultants. Of the charges against him, an issue of bullying staff members was raised by an outside HR specialist brought into investigate his conduct.

After Fenwick was placed on gardening leave, Louise Robson, Executive Director of Business and Development, and Andy Welch, Medical Director, have shared the responsibilities of the chief executive role.

The trust, under Fenwick’s leadership, when it was inspected by the Care Quality Commission last year, had been rated as outstanding.

Ben Hargreaves

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