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Trust chiefs and MP clash over resignations 'scapegoat' claim

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MP Hugh Robertson
MP Hugh Robertson

HOSPITAL bosses have clashed with a Kent MP over his claim that three non-executive directors of the trust at the centre of the C-difficile scandal have been made scapegoats.

Faversham and Mid Kent MP Hugh Robertson (Con) levelled the charge because the three directors who left the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust recently were not in their jobs at the time of the two key outbreaks of the bug.

He said they had been made scapegoats because the trust had highlighted their resignations as evidence of its drive for a fresh start.

But the trust hit back at the MP, saying that it had not concealed the fact that the three who quit were not in post at the time the hospitals were dealing with the outbreaks.

It pointed out that it had referred to the dates of their appointments in a press release last month.

Mr Roberston made the claim after tabling Parliamentary questions about whether the three directors were in their jobs at the time the hospitals were dealing with the most serious outbreaks. In an answer, health minister Ann Keen said none had been.

He said: “At the recent public meeting at the Maidstone Leisure Centre, the trust made a positive virtue of the fact that three non-executive directors had tendered their resignations. It now looks as though they were used as scapegoats as it is clear none were actually in post when the outbreaks occurred which leaves nobody yet properly accountable.”

A trust spokesman denied it covered up the situation. “The dates the non-executive directors worked at the trust were made public when their resignations were announced four weeks ago. This information is also on our website and was reported by the BBC on November 13th, when Mr Robertson was publicly calling for the board to be disbanded. There is no shambles, no revelations and no scapegoats.”

Those who resigned are Bruce Sheppy, who joined the Trust in September 2006, Gina Jennings, who joined in June 2006 and Simon Ingman who joined the board in July 2006.

Two others are coming to the end of their term - Aaron Cockell and Jonathan Paine.

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