An Open Letter to The Board of Barts Health NHS Trust

30 January 2014

We are writing to express our deep concern at the recent sacking of Charlotte Monro. Charlotte was an experienced Occupational Therapist and a Trade Union leader of 26 years’ experience serving at Whipps Cross and looking after the local community.

A respected and trusted member of staff should be able to challenge the running of the Trust and inform elected councillors of staff concerns. Proceedings were started against Ms Monro after she spoke out to a local authority health scrutiny panel about the threat of closure of the Stroke Unit at Whipps Cross. This illustrates how you view transparency and engagement with the local community. Where Trusts have tried to stop scrutiny and debate about proposed changes we have often seen poor practice and scandals follow, similar to events in Mid Staffordshire over the past few years.

Staff and patients did not ask to be saddled with the huge burden of the PFI at The Royal London, but the knock-on effect of this uneconomic building project is highly likely to have a detrimental effect on the quality of care that patients receive: a reduction in staff skills and numbers, the debanding of staff, and now the fear of speaking out after seeing their trusted Union leader sacked.

We do not accept your ostensible reason for sacking Charlotte: that she failed to disclose prior criminal conviction from the 1970s before joining the trust. She did disclose these convictions in a criminal records check some months ago and the trust took no action against her; only taking action after she bravely spoke out against the threat of closure of services at Whipps Cross.

We believe that your recent decision to sack Charlotte Monro has demonstrated that you are not interested in debate, scrutiny or transparency. This sacking is nothing more than an attempt to close off discussion about plans for Whipps Cross and the Trust, showing a failure to engage with or care about the community that you serve.