Campaigners want NSFT resignations after law degree controversy
- Credit: NSFT
A campaign group has called for resignations at the trust that approved the application of an NHS boss who claimed to have a law degree from a university he never graduated from.
Mason Fitzgerald was due to become the chief executive of the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) in April but withdrew his application after his degree claims were uncovered.
But he will now return to the East London Foundation Trust (ELFT), where he was seconded from, and the NSFT has started recruiting for a new chief executive.
The group Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk has now written to the Care Quality Commission (CQC), raising various concerns and calling for senior management at the trust to be sacked.
They said: “NSFT has been in special measures for five years and urgently requires effective leadership.
“It is important to us that NSFT appoint a CEO that can lead them out of ‘special measures’ because our members (comprising service users, carers, staff members, and bereaved relatives) bear the brunt of poor leadership at NSFT.”
They added they have no confidence in the leadership of Marie Gabriel, who is chair of ELFT and NSFT.
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The NSFT has long been one of the country’s worst-performing mental health trust, while ELFT has been rated outstanding.
The campaign group said: “The change required to transform NSFT from a failing organisation has not happened under the leadership of the ELFT team and the campaign is calling for the resignation of Marie Gabriel.
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“We are calling on NHS England and NHS Improvement to replace the board and senior management team with a new clinically led and focussed team.”
The group also called for the next trust boss to operate openly and transparently “to gain the confidence and the trust of the public.”
A spokeswoman for the CQC said their role was to consider whether a trust has appropriate recruitment and performance management process in place.
Adding: “Where we receive specific concerns, like we did in this case, that it has acted reasonably in coming to its conclusions about that director’s fitness.
“It is not CQC’s role to make a judgment on the fitness of the individual – this is a matter for the trust.”
The NSFT were unable to respond in time for going to print.
Previously the NSFT has said an investigation found it had “robust recruitment processes in place,” but it should “strengthen the process” when submitting information in its annual reports.