Councillor axed from hospital board

IPSWICH Council's deputy leader has today been sacked from his place on the board of the hospital trust after criticising delays in treating patients.John Carnall told a council meeting in October that the decision to leave people on the hospital waiting list for four months for routine surgery - even if there was a slot available before then - would cause distress and discomfort for many patients.

IPSWICH Council's deputy leader has today been sacked from his place on the board of the hospital trust after criticising delays in treating patients.

John Carnall told a council meeting in October that the decision to leave people on the hospital waiting list for four months for routine surgery - even if there was a slot available before then - would cause distress and discomfort for many patients.

He also warned that closing community hospitals like the Bartlet in Felixstowe before adequate care packages were introduced for people going home was not good enough.

Now he has been told that these comments breached his duty of confidentiality and collective responsibility as a non-executive member of the Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust board.


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He said: “I had a letter from the NHS Appointments Board telling me that my term of office at the hospital was being terminated with immediate effect after the comments I made.

“So far as I am concerned I did not make any comment on the situation at the hospital, I was just stating a fact that was relevant to voters in my ward in Ipswich.

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“I feel I would have been letting them down had I not said anything - and I don't see the point of being on the board if you are not able to saying anything about the hospital.”

Mr Carnall was appointed to the board in October 2003 for a four-year term.

He is a former deputy chief education officer at Suffolk County Council and was elected to Ipswich council as a Conservative in May 2004.

Mr Carnall became finance spokesman when the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition formed an administration at Civic Centre in September 2004, and became deputy council leader last year.

He said: “At the time of the debate (Labour councillor) Peter Gardiner, who is chairman of the east Suffolk PCT, left the room - but I did not feel that was necessary because it was the changes to the PCTs that were being discussed.

“I was surprised to hear that my comments had been reported to the NHS Appointments Board by the hospital trust - and very disappointed by what has happened.”

A spokeswoman for the hospital trust said the decision to terminate Mr Carnall's appointment was taken and implemented by the NHS Appointments' Commission, which is responsible for all non-executive NHS appointments across the country.

No one from the commission was available to comment on Mr Carnall's sacking today.

Fast fact: The four-month rule.

Ipswich Hospital has a rule that no one will receive elective (non-urgent) surgery until they have been waiting four months, even if surgeons would be able to carry out the work sooner.

The hospital says this allows it to manage non-urgent treatment more effectively, but patients and some medical staff fear it only creates longer delays than might otherwise be necessary.

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