The board responsible for overseeing Jersey’s health service has been disbanded – and the UK Professor behind an £85,000 report alleging a ‘Health Jersey Way’ has been appointed Chair of its replacement.
Senior clinical lecturer Hugo Mascie-Taylor – who has been recruited to lead the new ‘independent’ board on a 12-month contract – was asked to undertake a review of “clinical governance” in the island’s health service by Director General Caroline Landon last year.
He had previously been External Assessor during the appointment of Medical Director Patrick Armstrong, and was asked by Ms Landon to mentor him in the role, which involved weekly meetings with Mr Armstrong.
Published in August and based on interviews with more than 50 staff, Professor Mascie-Taylor's resulting report claimed that bullying, a "bias against standardisation" and "vested interests" are dominant in the island's health service and posed a threat to patient safety.
It made 61 recommendations – among them, a call to improve the board responsible for holding the organisation to account and insisting upon "safe, high-quality practice".
In its wake, Health Minister Karen Wilson pledged to create an independent board "to drive reform, improve governance and address the cultural, structural and practice issues affecting the quality and safety of the care provided".
On Friday, she announced that the current health board had been disbanded and that Professor Mascie-Taylor had been appointed on a 12-month contract to Chair it, beating more than 50 candidates. Express has asked the Government for details of the salary and travel expenses attached to the role, and is awaiting a response.
Describing the Professor's "established understanding of the challenges faced by the Department" as "vital", Deputy Wilson said that his key responsibilities would be to advise "on the terms of reference for the new Board and oversee the work of the turnaround team and a reform of the Department's clinical governance arrangements."
She also said he would "set clear expectations about the Department's culture, value, and behaviours".
An "specialist executive search firm" identified 52 candidates for consideration, with five progressing to interview. The shortlisted group met with a group of HCS staff, followed by a selection panel including Chief Executive Suzanne Wylie and a GP, who recommended two candidates to meet with Deputy Wilson and Deputy Chief Minister Kirsten Morel. Deputy Wilson made the final decision.
Express has asked whether Professor Mascie-Taylor's status as author of the report which triggered the board's creation was considered a potential conflict of interest by Government.
Professor Hugo Mascie-Taylor said that he was "delighted and privileged to be appointed by the Minister to Chair the emerging Board of HCS."
He continued: "During the process of the review which I recently undertook I had the opportunity to speak at length with over seventy people in the organisation.
"I know that the service has many committed staff who wish to be part of a strong, mutually respectful, and effective team delivering the best possible care to all patients. I look forward to working with them to put in place the key structures, processes, and culture and behaviours necessary to drive improvement, openness and transparency.
"This will enable patients and carers in Jersey to be assured that the quality and safety of the care they receive compares favourably with other health systems elsewhere in the world."
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