Valerie Vaz MP calls for Independent Chief Executive at Walsall Manor Hospital

“At Health Questions on Tuesday 14 June 2022 I raised the issue of the governance arrangements at Walsall Manor with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care (Sajid Javid) following the publication of the Messenger-Pollard Review into NHS leadership. There is a joint Chair and a permanent “Group CEO” at Walsall and Wolverhampton Trusts.

I asked the Secretary of State: ‘I have already raised the issue of the governance at Walsall Manor Hospital. I welcome the Messenger-Pollard review—the Secretary of State will know that there is also a report called “The snowy white peaks of the NHS”, which says roughly the same thing—but I have been fobbed off because the leadership at Walsall and Wolverhampton remains the same. Could he look into why Walsall Manor should not have its own chief executive?’

The joint Chair and CEO have pushed through governance changes so that the Walsall Trust board only meets half as regularly and no longer focuses on long-term strategy for healthcare in Walsall. The sovereignty of Walsall Trust is being undermined.

The joint CEO was the only person considered for the position. A whistleblower has raised concerns about the transparency of appointments of Non-Executive Directors.

My constituents deserve an NHS Trust with leadership completely committed to Walsall, not spending half of their time focusing on another area. Health and social care providers need a leadership figure whose sole responsibility is improving outcomes for patients here.

In his response the Secretary of State for Health said: ‘These are important issues, and I have discussed this with the right hon. Lady. I will take another look at the management of Walsall Manor.’ I am pleased that the Secretary of State will look again at these issues. There is more than enough talent in Walsall to find an independent Chief Executive who will fight for the Manor.”