Sir Lindsay Hoyle hits out after former Euro MP quits Lancashire Teaching Hospital NHS Trust board following complaint

A former Euro MP has quit the trust running Preston and Chorley hospitals after allegedly making derogatory remarks about a rival politician.

Thursday, 12th July 2018, 8:04 am
Updated Monday, 16th July 2018, 5:09 pm
Pictured: Top, Chorley hospital, bottom left, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, bottom right, Michael Welsh

Conservative Michael Welsh, 76, is said to have stepped down from the board of Lancashire Teaching Hospital NHS Trust following an internal investigation into his conduct.

But the man who lodged the complaint - Chorley’s Labour MP Sir Lindsay Hoyle - has now accused the trust of a cover-up for refusing to publish the results of the inquiry.

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“They have offered me an apology, but that’s all,” said the Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons.

“I’m the one who raised the grievance, yet they won’t even give me any information about how it was dealt with, or what has happened.

“This is public body for goodness sake. It is a complete disgrace and utterly shambolic. Why are they so secretive?”

The trust, which was recently ranked 119th in a league table of NHS trusts for openness and transparency, has also declined to reveal details of the investigation to the Post, despite repeated requests.

All a spokesman would say was: “We can confirm that an internal investigation took place following an official complaint, as per standard practice.

“As you are aware, Mr Welsh recently resigned from his position at the Trust and we would like to again place on record our thanks to him for his hard work and commitment throughout his time here.”

Sir Lindsay revealed he had made the complaint after it was alleged Mr Welsh, a non-executive director, made remarks about him in emails to other members of the trust in the build-up to the Chorley District Council elections in May.

It is claimed he accused the MP of using the campaign to re-open the town’s A&E department to score political points on behalf of Labour.

But Sir Lindsay rubbished the claims, saying: “I have been campaigning for a 24-hour A&E at Chorley since the day it was first closed. So to be accused by a non-executive of the trust of making political gain (from it) because there was a local election is quite appalling.

“I have been making a plea for an extension of hours at the hospital on a regular basis for more than a year. I have been waiting for a meeting with the chief executive of the trust – and I’m still waiting.”

Mr Welsh, who had been a non-executive director for five years before his resignation, declined to comment on his departure.

“I don’t wish to say anything about it,” he said. “The trust has enough difficulties to deal with as it is.”

Sir Lindsay added: “I’m presuming Mr Welsh will have seen the results of the inquiry, so why haven’t I? Why would one be allowed it and not the other?

“I’m going to continue asking for the report. But they are a trust out of control.”

Michael Welsh

Mr Welsh MBE served three terms in the European Parliament for Lancashire Central from 1979 to 1994, but lost his seat to Mark Hendrick.

He then became a Lancashire county councillor from 1997 to 2013, representing Preston North East division. He was leader of the Conservative group at County Hall between 2003 and 2008, before being ousted by current leader Geoff Driver.

Before politics he was director of market development from Levi Strauss and Co.

Mr Welsh, who lives in the Chorley area, was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June 2014 for services to the community in Lancashire.