Eastern Daily Press
27 June 2015 Lauren Cope and Nicholas Carding
The chief executive of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital resigned last night following discontent among medical staff and a critical report which highlighted an alleged “bullying culture”.
Anna Dugdale revealed she would be stepping down after a Care Quality Commission (CQC) report, published earlier this month.
The announcement came after more than 150 consultants met hospital chairman John Fry to raise concerns about how their trust dealt with the issues raised in the report, including allegations of bullying.
The consultants gathered initially on Thursday night to discuss their concerns about the hospital leadership.
One source said staff had “lost confidence” in the chief executive after the CQC report which alleged a “bullying culture” at the trust was coming from the highest level of management.
Mrs Dugdale sent an email to staff at 6.20am today announcing that she was stepping down. The email said that the hospital was making arrangements for a handover.
On her resignation, Mrs Dugdale said: “I have worked at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for many years, and as its chief executive for the last six. I love this hospital, I am so very proud of our staff and feel passionate about the care that we give our patients.
“This last year, however, has been one of the most challenging ever and two weeks ago we received a report from the CQC that raised some serious criticisms of areas of our work.
“As the chief executive I take responsibility for this and, therefore, today I have tendered my resignation.
“I believe that this is a truly great hospital and I have been so proud to serve the people of Norfolk as part of such a fantastic hospital team.”
She thanked hospital staff, patients and public for their support.
Mr Fry said Mrs Dugdale had been a “wonderful” chief executive.
“She has played a huge role in developing the hospital, its services for patients and partnerships with the UEA and Norwich Research Park,” he added.
“Her drive and commitment to the hospital, its staff and patients has been unrivalled. We owe her an enormous debt. Anna will be sorely missed and she leaves us with our very best wishes.”
A consultant at the hospital, who did not want to be named, said there was anger at the way Mrs Dugdale had informed staff about the CQC report and said that there was a “feeling the trust were trying to ignore the issues raised by the CQC”.
In a letter to staff, seen by the EDP, Ms Dugdale only referred to the trust’s NHS Staff Survey result which placed them in the bottom 20pc nationally for bullying and harassment and did not address the alleged “bullying culture” in the staff letter.
Mr Fry said: “Nobody should be bullied at work but our staff have highlighted a concern about bullying and harassment.
“This is something we take very seriously and we have been carrying out extensive work with staff members and staff representatives to develop and implement an action plan to address this issue. We are proud of our hospital and the care that we provide for our patients.
“We are introducing more frequent staff feedback surveys to monitor the effect of the measures we are taking.”
Do you have experiences of bullying in the health service? Email firstname.lastname@example.org