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Consultants’ vote of no confidence in healthcare trust’s medical director

PUBLISHED: 12:30 16 January 2018 | UPDATED: 13:17 16 January 2018

Northern Devon Healthcare Trust medical director George Thomson.

Northern Devon Healthcare Trust medical director George Thomson.


Hospital clinicians held an extraordinary meeting to support a motion of no confidence in Northern Devon Healthcare Trust’s medical director George Thomson.

Northern Devon Healthcare Trust’s (NDHT) medical director’s leadership has been called into question by hospital consultants, a leaked report shows.

At an extraordinary meeting of the Medical Advisory Committee (MAC) on January 9, 51 out of 76 consultants supported a motion of no confidence in George Thomson.

In a letter seen by the Gazette, the committee has written to Roger French, chairman of the NDHT board, outlining its reasons for the vote by senior clinicians.

These include allegations of ‘ongoing concerns about intimidating and bullying behaviour towards senior clinicians’.

The committee also said Mr Thomson had a ‘lack of recognition of the MAC chair’s role as an independent voice in the processes around managing performance concerns for senior clinicians’.

In November a damning report by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) said ‘urgent action’ must be taken to guarantee the long-term safety of Barnstaple’s maternity unit.

The MAC claimed there has been a ‘lack of clinical leadership’ by Mr Thomson which led to these safety concerns, and that there was still currently ‘no clear safe plan’.

The committee also said there had been a lack of progress on the RCOG recommendations and a lack of support for staff from Mr Thomson.

Another reason for its vote was there had been a ‘lack of leadership to establish useful working relationships with neighbouring trusts to facilitate mutual aid’.

In the letter to Mr French, the MAC concluded: “The senior clinicians felt that previous attempts to raise concerns within and outside the trust have been ineffective. “In addition, should George Thomson apply for the position of Chief Executive (interim or permanent), we would not support his appointment.”

Current chief executive Alison Diamond will be retiring from the position in March and the trust is currently working on securing her replacement.

Last week the Gazette reported the hospital was told it must make ‘significant improvements’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following an unannounced visit by inspectors in October.

A spokesperson for the trust said: “A letter has been sent to the board by representatives of the medical advisory committee to this effect and we are currently considering the options.”

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