NHS Trust launches inquiry into boss’s law degree claim

Mason Fitzgerald has been appointed new chief executive of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

Mason Fitzgerald is due to become chief executive of the NSFT in April but is facing an inquiry into claims he had a Masters of Law degree - Credit: NSFT

The region’s mental health trust has begun a review into the qualifications of its deputy chief executive after a degree which he was never awarded was listed on several documents.

Mason Fitzgerald is due to become chief executive of the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) in April, but the Trust confirmed it was now carrying out an independent review into why its annual report states Mr Fitzgerald has a Master of Laws degree (LLM) when he never graduated.

The LLM is listed under Mr Fitzgerald’s qualifications on the NSFT’s 2019/20 annual report, as well as the last two annual reports of the  East London Foundation Trust (ELFT), where Mr Fitzgerald worked from 2005 to 2019.

He rose to become an executive director of that trust before joining the NSFT in November 2019.

On his LinkedIn page, Mr Fitzgerald stated he had an LLM from the University of Georgia, but that was recently changed with the words "degree not awarded" added.

Mason Fitzgerald

Mason Fitzgerald's LinkedIn profile lists the LLM from the University of Georgia. The profile was recently changed to state that the degree was not awarded. - Credit: LinkedIn

The University of Georgia, where Mr Fitzgerald studied from 1999 to 2000, told the BBC that he had attended but never graduated.

The university said: “He did not graduate but was in the law school graduate program."

Mr Fitzgerald, who is currently deputy chief executive of the trust, told the BBC: “There is an ongoing review, and it is therefore not appropriate for me to make a public statement.”

The NSFT and ELFT said: “An independent review into these concerns is being carried out and until that concludes it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

The qualification was also listed on a medical journal in 2018.

According to his LinkedIn page, Mr Fitzgerald has a Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB) from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. The ELFT annual reports also state he is a qualified barrister.

The trust's current chief executive, Jonathan Warren, announced his retirement last year and the NSFT said in December that Mr Fitzgerald would take over.

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The NSFT is currently rated as "requires improvement" by the Care Quality Commission and is in special measures.

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