Lead governor has ‘lost faith’ in health trust

Protestors from No Health Sell Off Morecambe Bay
Protestors from No Health Sell Off Morecambe Bay

The lead governor of Morecambe Bay’s health trust says he has “lost faith and trust” in the organisation following the decision to privatise pharmacy services.

John Kaye, lead governor of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust (UHMBT), said governors would be holding an emergency public meeting to formulate an official response.

But he said his own view was that the trust did not follow due process when it made the decision to outsource outpatient pharmacy services at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary to a private company, understood to be Lloyds Pharmacy.

The Trust said that the option it chose produces the best outcome for patients.

Mr Kaye said the trust did not consider the alternative option of an in-sourced or wholly owned pharmacy company that would keep profits within the NHS in the long term.

He said colleagues were only made aware of the pharmacy project when they saw leaflets handed out at a meeting on June 20 2014 by campaign group No Health at Morecambe Bay.

He said: “On May 28 2015, following several presentations by the board, all on the outsourced or third party privatisation model, the governors rejected any such option and requested that the board bring back to council details of the in-sourced or wholly owned pharmacy company.

Despite council’s request the board did not undertake the work necessary regarding a wholly owned company, preferring instead to regurgitate previous excuses.”

Mr Kaye said an email sent by one of the trust’s procurement team stated that the Trust had gone so far down the third party privatisation route, “it could not be seen to be now considering any alternative model”.

Governors gathered evidence themselves, and said they found it was feasible to set up a company which would deliver all the benefits anticipated from Lloyds Pharmacy such as shorter waiting times and continuity, whilst also returning substantial financial benefit to the Trust in the long term.

Mr Kaye claimed that the board put out its Notice to Tender in March 2014 before it held its private and secret meeting, most likely also on the June 30 2014, when it formally affirmed its intention.

He added: “It is little wonder that most of the governors now hold the view that due process has most certainly not been followed and have no faith and trust left in the trust.”

Trust medical director Dr David Walker said: “These changes have always been driven by patient safety and our determination to offer the highest standards of patient care.

“Our Governors are an important part of our Governance structure and we welcome their involvement - including the assessment of potential partners for our outpatient services.

“The selected option also addresses the recruitment and retention issues we have currently with our clinical pharmacists. We feel very strongly that this is the right option for our patients”.