Wakefield Council leader Peter Box says the outgoing chief executive of a troubled hospital trust has been made a “scapegoat”.
Coun Box said Julia Squire’s resignation from the debt-ridden Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust is “not sufficient” and says the trust board must be held accountable for “systematic failures”.
The trust, which runs hospitals in Dewsbury, Pontefract and Wakefield, has come under increasing pressure in recent weeks after it emerged it had a deficit of nearly £20m.
And it has come under fire for asking the Army if it could spare forces medics to help staff Pontefract’s A&E ward, which controversially has been closed overnight since last November due to a shortage of doctors.
Julia Squire stepped down on Thursday night to take up a new role with the NHS Confederation.
Stephen Eames, chief executive of County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation trust, is due to take over her role in March.
Coun Box said: “Responsibility for the failures of the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust cannot just be laid at the door of one person.
“Whilst it was right that the chief executive should stand down she has clearly been made a scapegoat. Her resignation is not sufficient to tackle the deep rooted problems of the Trust.
“The Board has collective responsibility for the systematic failures which have occurred, and they must be accountable for what has gone on. The mismanagement of the Trust cannot be allowed to continue and further action is needed before we can begin to have any faith in those responsible for the future management of the district’s hospital services.”
Yvette Cooper, MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, said: “Local people have been calling for some time for outside help to deal with the problems at Mid Yorkshire including the urgent need to re-open A&E in Pontefract.
“I hope the new management will recognise the importance of working with local people and respecting the promises made on services at Pontefract. With over 12,000 people so far signing the petition to re-open the A&E overnight, we will keep up the pressure to make sure this happens.”
Trust chairman Ed Anderson said: “The Trust Board wishes Julia every success in her new role and expresses its thanks for her positive contribution. We now look forward to working with Stephen to continue to provide safe, high quality care.”