Issues were known for some time

A flurry of activity from the newly appointed Minister with responsibilty for health, Shaun Woodward. As the BBC reported yesterday, the minister said he was “extremely disturbed” by parts of the risk management report and, after a meeting with the Sperrin Lakeland Health Trust, “the body announced that it had asked chief executive Hugh Mills to stand down.” Today, the Trust’s Medical Director Dr Diana Cody said “We accept at the moment, there is going to be a public confidence issue but we are committed to providing services to our community in a safe way.” The Risk Management report[PDF file] that resulted in the resignation of the Chief Executive is indeed damning.There are 31 recommendations listed at the end of the report. But one section of the actual text of the report stands out immediately –

4.2.1 Risk management

The Trust have established a mechanism for managing risks and although policies and procedures may exist, they have historically focused more on non-clinical than clinical risk and the operational reality is such that the mechanism is not robust and
there are significant gaps in risk management at all levels of the Trust. Consequently there is no effective systematic risk management system within the Trust. This poses a significant risk to patients and staff and needs to be led and managed effectively.
The identification and management of clinical incidents needs to be managed more effectively and strongly connected to the supportive management of poor
performance. The current arrangements are unsatisfactory and not robust.[emphasis added]

And from the report’s Conclusions –

It is important to recognise that, during our discussions and periodic feedback sessions to monitor progress with members of the Trust, at no time has any individual within the Trust been surprised at the content of the feedback. Consequently, it is fair to say that many of the issues identified within this report have been known to the Trust and the wider health community for some time.[emphasis added]

It sounds like there’s a greater problem than a single resignation will fix.