A governor who spoke out about the troubled introduction of a new parking system at the Royal Preston and Chorley and South Ribble hospitals has been suspended.
Ken Jones publicly criticised Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (LTH) last week for the way the parking changes had been handled. He also claimed that governors - appointed to represent local communities and hold hospital bosses to account - had not been properly consulted.
His comments chimed with criticisms made by other governing council members in a series of internal e-mails seen by the local democracy service.
At the height of the confusion over the new system - which patients have condemned for being unclear and causing lengthy queues - several governors raised serious concerns, in writing, with the LTH board.
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Speaking after his suspension, Mr. Jones, who is also a Labour opposition member of South Ribble Council, said: “I didn’t leak [the e-mails] to anybody, but I am happy to repeat that, in my opinion, [the introduction of the new system] was a stupid decision which is not in the interests of either patients or staff.
“Predictably, the management response has been to shoot the whistleblower rather than the incompetents who made this decision.”
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Chair of LTH, Sue Musson, said: “We can confirm that, in accordance with our constitution and policies, a governor has been suspended whilst a potential breach of our Code of Conduct is investigated.”
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Mr. Jones has been a member of the governing council at LTH for eight years.
The governor e-mails which emerged last week claimed that members had warned the trust about potential “pitfalls” in the operation of the new parking system, which is overseen by the Buckshaw-based company Parking Eye.
They also said that assurances which they were given about the implementation of new pay machines and automatic number plate recognition cameras had not been adhered to.
When presented with the content of the e-mails last Friday, a spokesperson for Parking Eye said: “All kiosks are operational and we have plans in place to install additional kiosks in the coming weeks in areas of high footfall. This will help address many of the concerns.”
LTH finance director, Paul Havey, also speaking last week, said: “The appointment and contractual management of a car park system provider is the responsibility of our facilities and procurement teams. However we did actively seek input from a range of individuals and groups during the selection process.”