Morecambe: All that glisters…

By Dr Minh Alexander NHS whistleblower and former consultant psychiatrist 15 November 2016


University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has a history of cover up, whistleblower reprisal and failure to learn from serious patient harm. [1] Recently, the trust has been celebrated as an example of turnaround and NHS reform under Jeremy Hunt’s stewardship. Morecambe received much praise for its recent revelation – made to professional and system regulators – that it previously entered into a questionable settlement with a senior midwife. This included an undertaking not to investigate her:

“Following discussions between the employee and the trust, the employee has opted to take early redundancy and as a result the employer has agreed not to commence an internal investigation into the employee’s performance as maternity risk manager.” [2]

The Trust was subsequently asked if it had reached any other similar settlements. Today, it has provided only a partial answer:

“All agreements dating back to 2011 have been examined and the Trust can confirm that there are no other agreements in existence with similar undertakings not to investigate a member of staff.”

The full FOI disclose by Morecambe can be found here:


Clearly, the Trust’s response does not fully answer the question. Neither did the trust disclose all relevant documents as requested.

Is it possible that there have been other settlements by the Trust, prior to 2011, that also promised not to investigate other staff?

Perhaps the CQC should break its habit of impressive inaction on NHS compromise agreements and look into this.

Assuming the DH takes its heavy foot off the brakes, that is.

But as we know, spinaround is so much easier than turnaround.




  1. ‘Final overarching summary report’ by Morecambe Bay 1 November 2016, from its recent internal review of of the events leading to the Morecambe Bay Investigation

  1. Morecambe and wise counsel 17 October 2016

A less rosy look at Morecambe, from whistleblowers’ perspective

  1. NHS Gagging. How CQC sits on its hands 23 September 2016

An analysis, with other audit trail, that shows that the CQC has been bending over backwards not to review any NHS providers’ compromise agreements, despite claiming that it would.


[1] The report of the Morecambe Bay Investigation. An independent investigation into the management, delivery and outcomes of care provided by the maternity and neonatal services at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust from January 2004 to June 2013. Published March 2015.

[2] ‘Irregular’ pay off deal revealed at scandal hit trust. Shaun Lintern Health Service Journal 12 October 2016



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