Trust boss 'breached dignity at work policy'
The former chairman of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust has welcomed the release of two reports saying he breached its dignity at work policy, so that they can be "publicly considered".
Martin Watts has always claimed he was forced to resign his post on the trust board in June following the outcome of two independent investigations in to his behaviour with trust staff.
His resignation was shortly followed by three other non-executive members of the board, including his interim replacement as chairman, Mike Higgins.
Mr Watts had long protested that he was the victim of a "serious error of judgment", however a release of two reports, following a Freedom of Information request by BBC Radio Cornwall, claimed he was in breach of the trust's dignity at work policy.
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The first related to an incident when the former chairman was said to have become angry with a nurse in charge of his mother-in-law's care.
The second accused him of "on two occasions taking hold of the member of staff by (their) arms… causing intimidation by not respecting personal boundaries and "being unfairly/unduly critical of aspects of performance". Yet, Mr Watts questioned the quality and validity of both reports, one of which was made before he was asked to stay on in his position as chairman for another four years in March.
His criticisms include that the author of the second report chose to ignore his request to speak to what he said were key witnesses.
Speaking to the Western Morning News yesterday, he said: "Where this goes from here I don't know, but having my own integrity formally questioned, together with my reputation... I'm just not going to let the matter drop, and neither are my non-executive colleagues. The fact that now 21 shadow governors could be reviewing the process, means it should be brought back to bear.
"The last thing that I and my three colleagues that have resigned wanted to do is damage the trust (by resigning) because we have given four years of our lives working to move it forward.
"I think [the general public] must be appalled because of... what appears to be a board shambles.
"I believe that Lezli Boswell [RCHT chief executive] and David Flory [chief executive of the NHS Trust Development Authority] have a great deal to answer for."
Mike Higgins, who replaced Mr Watts as temporary chairman before resigning himself, said he also welcomed the release of the information.
He said: "It was, after all, part of the information that the non-executive directors requested after his forced resignation and which contributed to my resignation.
Responding to the release of the independent reports, Ms Boswell, said: "Two independent reports upheld complaints against Martin Watts under the trust's dignity at work policy, following which he resigned from his post as chairman.
"The trust has a new chairman, Angela Ballatti, who is working with the NHS Trust Development Authority on the recruitment of good candidates to the vacant non-executive roles."