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Editor's blog Thursday 17 June 2010: Lansley orders investigation into NHS South West / Watkinson affair

You may remember that we covered the issues around ex-chief executive John Watkinson's employment tribunal against his employer Royal Cornwall NHS Trust, and the reported involvement of Sir Ian Carruthers of NHS South West strategic health authority in his dismissal.

NHS South West were not happy about this as you might also recall.

Royal Cornwall also recently decided to appeal the Employment Tribunal's unanimous decision, as you may have spotted.

In a written ministerial statement, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley CBE MP has ordered an independent investigation to be carried out by Verita.

Verita's terms of reference are:
"to examine all the SHA’s interactions with the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust in relation to the dismissal of John Watkinson and, by association, the trust’s position in relation to the provision of the upper GI services in Cornwall. In particular, to determine:

"the chronology of events and decisions made in the running up to the dismissal of John Watkinson;

"what involvement NHS South West had in his dismissal and whether or not this was motivated by the reconfiguration of upper GI services or otherwise; and

"whether the SHA acted appropriately, proportionately, in keeping with its role and within its statutory responsibilities.

"The review should not duplicate the review of the upper GI service configuration which was recently carried out by the independent reconfiguration panel, nor any subsequent appeal of the employment tribunal’s decision. However, it may consider these and any other relevant background evidence to make its determinations".

Interesting times.