EXCLUSIVE: Cull at Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals Trust as five top staff are axed from posts

Five of the most senior staff members in the borough’s hospital service have been axed from their posts, in a huge shake-up at the troubled health trust.

Some of the group, all thought to be executive board members at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust (BHRUT), could walk off with golden handshake worth hundreds of thousands of pounds - equivalent to around a year’s pay each and compensation for loss of post - according to NHS rules.

The trust is currently tens of millions of pounds in debt, largely due to spiralling repayments on the Queen’s Hospital building, in Rom Valley Way, Romford, which was built under a mortgage-style Private Finance Initiative (PFI).

Some of the group were given their marching orders last week, by the trust’s chief executive Averil Dongworth, and others may be given different roles.

One insider claimed it followed “growing animosity” between the factions.

It is claimed the five were urging Ms Dongworth to make “some difficult decisions” regarding the future of the trust which has faced a barrage of criticism and inquiry into Queen’s troubled maternity units and overstretched emergency department.

The source added: “There is a lot of shock and upset in the hospital over this decision. It’s been a long time since the NHS has seen this scale of upheaval.”

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Ms Dongwoth took the reigns of the trust in February last year, and said the shake-up was part of “a new culture” of change at the trust.

She said: “Over the last year, we have made substantial improvements in our performance. But I know these have not yet been sufficient, on performance, cost improvement and embedding a new culture to sustain high quality patient care and meet the requirements for Foundation Trust status.

“With eleven new clinical directors appointed in January, it is now time to ensure we have the right executive team in place to support the new clinical leadership and take the organisation forward to complete the transformation of BHRUT into a high performing trust.

“A number of current members of the executive team will be leaving the trust or changing role over the next few weeks. I would like to thank them all for their sterling work in steering the organisation through a very difficult period.”