Calls for University Hospital of North Staffordshire chief executive Julia Bridgewater to withdraw her resignation
DOZENS of consultants are calling for chief executive Julia Bridgewater to withdraw her resignation – just days before she leaves their hospital.
They have come out in support of Mrs Bridgewater and want University Hospital of North Staffordshire chairman John MacDonald to try to persuade Julia Bridgewater to stay on.
The plea comes four days before she is due to leave the complex where she has spent her entire 28-year NHS career.
Around 30 of top hospital consultants have bombarded Mr MacDonald with e-mails in praise of the woman who handed in her resignation as the trust overspent its budget by around £27 million, mainly because she sanctioned the re-opening of 80 beds to keep the public safe.
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Some said that without her 'inspirational leadership' they would have been less ready to go the extra mile to turn some services into among the best in the country.
Others described her as the best chief executive they had known.
And a number claimed she had sacrificed her £170,000-a-year job as part of a deal to bring a bail-out of more that £8 million from NHS fundholding bodies.
Mr MacDonald called a meeting of all consultants, matrons and senior nurses in the complex's medical school last night to listen to their views.
The e-mails came from some of the biggest names in North Staffordshire medicine and were leaked to The Sentinel yesterday.
They include messages of support from stroke physicians Professor Christine Roffe and Indira Natarajan, Dr Murray Brunt and the rest of the breast cancer specialists, surgeons Mark Deakin and Robert Kirby, orthodontics consultant John Scholey – who was commended in last year's Sentinel Our Heroes awards – eye expert Ray Brown, weight-loss surgeon Chandra Cheruvu, cancer surgeon Christine Hall, urologist Sam Lieu and nationally-acclaimed rehabilitation medic Professor Tony Ward.
E-mail comments include:
'Because of the personal respect she is held in, we regularly work beyond the call of duty';
'We regret the decision to accept her resignation';
'My department is reeling at the news';
'Losing her at such a crucial time is a mistake';
'She is a tremendous force for good';
'She has fallen on her sword to get us money to bail us out';
'The disease of changing football managers has now reached the NHS';
'She has been blamed for things that are not her fault';
'Balancing the books is important but success in patient care should also be recognised – we won't see the like of Julia for some time';
'I will struggle to find the enthusiasm to jump through hoops for another CEO'.
One consultant spoke of how the chief executive at another hospital went undercover in a wheelchair to check the A&E unit but was unrecognised.
He said: "Had Julia arrived in our A&E in such a fashion she would have been addressed by her first name by concerned staff."
In his letter of response, Mr MacDonald added his own tribute and said the board was determined to build on recent achievements. It added directors would be telling interim replacement Jim Birrell 'our expectations for him over the next few months.'
Mrs Bridgewater was unavailable for comment.