Top hospital consultants urge health chief to quit

PUBLISHED: 16:46 18 August 2010 | UPDATED: 13:41 19 August 2010




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Nearly 80 top consultants have demanded the resignation of an NHS Trust’s medical director, claiming his decisions are putting patients at risk.

Some 77 surgeons and doctors, the majority from Princess Royal Hospital in Farnborough, signed a letter stating they no longer had confidence in Roger Smith, who works for South London Healthcare Trust.

But Mr Smith, who makes medical decisions for a million people in Bromley, Bexley and Greenwich, has refused to go and has the support of the trust board, including chief executive Chris Streather.

The surgeons, said they have “grave concerns” that decisions made “almost invariably without preliminary discussion... directly impinge on patient care and safety”.

The Times has revealed in recent weeks how clinicians claimed they were being pressured into performing operations without equipment such as ventilation masks, epidural kits and cardiology equipment.

Mr Streather has told the consultants: “While the comments from colleagues have been taken on board and we continue to work on improving relationships with the clinical team, I, the executive team and the chairman remain strongly supportive of the trust medical director.

“Decisions are made by the executive as a cabinet not individually, and it is not fair to hold one member personally accountable for decisions made as a collective. Appropriately, Roger is the face of the organisation with professional colleagues but should not be singled out for attention because of this.”

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