Liverpool Echo 6 March 201 By Joshua Taylor
Bernie Cuthel begins five-month secondment to health board in Wales
An NHS boss who resigned after a culture of “bullying” and “blame” was exposed at a Liverpool health trust has landed a new senior job in north Wales.
Bernie Cuthel stepped down as chief executive of Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust after it was slammed by regulators last year.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) issued the organisation with two warnings in January 2014 for failing to meet national welfare targets – and revealed staff on a trust-run ward at Fazakerley hospital had raised concerns over “bullying” managers and a “blame culture” that made them afraid to report incidents.
Since stepping down last April, Ms Cuthel got a new job at Manchester Mental Health and Social Care NHS Trust – and this week began a five-month secondment to the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) in Bangor.
She will work as the board’s interim director of primary, community and mental health services.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper, who previously asked questions in Parliament about Ms Cuthel’s time in Liverpool, slammed the BCUHB’s decision to hire her.
The Labour politician said: “There’s a serious gap in accountability when senior executives and boards preside over a culture of bullying and intimidation.
“In the light of my investigations into the Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust, I have referred Bernie Cuthel to the CQC to ask them whether she is a fit and proper person to be involved in another NHS organisation.
“We are nowhere near the end of the investigations and litigation which will come out of the Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust.”
The CQC’s inquiry last year said staff at the Liverpool trust claimed their managers were “intimidating”, “unresponsive” and “bullying”.
A number of employees said they would not report concerns to the management team for fear of reprisals and recrimination.
Ms Cuthel stepped down in April along with the Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust’s director of nursing and human resources director.
A BCUHB spokesman said: “We advertised a secondment opportunity on the NHS Jobs website.
“Ms Cuthel applied in open competition and was deemed to be the best candidate at interview.
“Pre-employment checks, including taking up two references from her current and former employers, were completed.
“A secondment agreement has been entered into with her current employer for a period of five months.”
The BCUHB added that Ms Cuthel would not make any comment personally.