THE CHIEF executive of Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust - who resigned amid mounting criticism last week - has been made a scapegoat for deep-rooted problems within its management, Wakefield Council leader Coun Peter Box has said.
Julia Squire announced her resignation from the cash-strapped health trust, which runs hospitals in Pontefract, Wakefield and Dewsbury, last Thursday.
Stephen Eames, chief executive of County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, will join the Trust in March in an interim role.
Mid Yorkshire has come under mounting criticism over recent months, with the temporary closure of Pontefract A&E during the night and mounting debts.
Coun Box said: “Responsibility for the failures of the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust cannot just be laid at the door of one person.
“While it was right that the chief executive should stand down she has clearly been made a scapegoat. Her resignation is not sufficient to tackle the longstanding and deep rooted problems of the Trust.
“The board has collective responsibility for the systematic failures which have occurred, and they must be accountable for what has gone on.
“The mismanagement of the trust cannot be allowed to continue and further action is needed before we can begin to have any faith in those responsible for the future management of the district’s hospital services.”
Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett said Ms Squire’s resignation should mark a fresh start for the trust.
He said: “The problems at Mid Yorkshire are deep-rooted and are not just down to a single person but it is clear that the management of the trust needed some changes and needed to be strengthened.
“Ms Squire’s departure is a chance for the trust to strengthen its management team and get a fresh mind on the subject. Tough management is needed.
“The trust needs a fresh insight and a new way of managing as their strategy has not worked so far. They have cut too much and as a result, people have chosen not to use the hospital.
“There is a pressing need to bring demand back and attract people to the hospital and re-opening the 24 hour A&E is a vital to this.”
Mr Eames has 20 years’ experience as a chief executive, and started his NHS career in Dewsbury.
Ms Squire leaves after five years as chief executive - a period which saw new hospitals built in both Wakefield and Pontefract. She will start a new job with the NHS Confederation.
Tracey McErlain-Burns will act as acting chief executive until Mr Eames takes up his new role.