Page last updated at 16:47 GMT, Monday, 15 March 2010

Sacked Cornwall hospital boss an 'obstacle to change'

John Watkinson arriving at employment tribunal
Mr Watkinson said bosses wanted to make changes without consultation

A sacked hospital boss was seen as an "obstacle" to the NHS driving through service changes, a tribunal has heard.

The Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust (RCHT) sacked John Watkinson last April, saying his leadership was heading "towards corporate failure".

He had been suspended in 2008 after concerns about debts at Bromley Hospitals NHS Trust in London where he had formerly worked.

But Mr Watkinson told the employment tribunal his dismissal was "a sham".

Mr Watkinson, who claims he was unfairly dismissed, was giving evidence for the first time as the tribunal enters its third week.

'Marked card'

He told the tribunal that when he arrived at the RCHT in January 2007 it was the worst performing trust in England, with a £36m deficit.

Within a year or so the Healthcare Commission and district auditors recognised there had been "significant progress" with a £1.2m surplus.

None of that, Mr Watkinson told the tribunal, pointed towards corporate failure.

He said the Strategic Health Authority and the Primary Care Trust in Cornwall wanted to transfer some cancer services from Truro to Plymouth which had met with public opposition.

Mr Watkinson said NHS bosses wanted to "force" the plan through without public consultation, but in August 2008 he told the Royal Cornwall Hospital board he had sought legal advice on the issue and that advice plainly stated there had to be public consultation.

From that point he was seen as an obstacle and his "card was marked", he told the tribunal.

The tribunal is expected to finish later this week.

Print Sponsor

Tribunal for sacked hospital boss
01 Mar 10 |  Cornwall
Cornwall hospitals chief sacked
17 Apr 09 |  Cornwall
Report shows improvement at trust
02 Oct 08 |  Cornwall
Debt-crisis trust gets new boss
01 Jan 07 |  Cornwall

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific