Ambulance boss on sick leave after damning inspection report
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
The head of the region’s ambulance service is on sick leave following the publication of a report into bullying and sexual harassment at the trust.
Dorothy Hosein, chief executive of the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST), has not spoken publicly since the publication of a scathing Care Quality Commission (CQC) report. It slammed the service’s leadership as ‘inadequate’ last week.
One paramedic said: “We’ve heard absolutely nothing from Dorothy. The rumours are she is on leave, but a few of us think she is likely leaving based on her complete silence.”
However, a spokesman for the trust said Ms Hosein, who joined the service as an interim chief executive in 2018, is currently on sick leave.
It comes after health inspectors uncovered a raft of sexual abuse claims at EEAST, which was already rated ‘requires improvement’ after the CQC visited in 2018.
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Management said in the wake of this latest report that they were “absolutely committed” to tackling sexual harassment and bullying.
In a message to staff last week, signed by the “executive team”, the trust pledged to deal with any safeguarding concerns “rapidly and appropriately”.
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It said it would publish its action plan shortly.
The message to staff said: “We want to assure you that we have actions underway right now.”
Thirteen staff members were reported to police for sexual misconduct and predatory behaviour against patients and other employees between March 2019 and April 2020.
• Bosses knew about abuse scandal months ago
Leaders had been aware of the sexual abuse scandal engulfing it several months ago but failed to take action, it emerged last week.
A report published in March and presented to EEAST’s board of directors following the sudden deaths of three staff in November 2019 highlighted the problem of sexual harassment.
It found there was a “culture of tolerance and a long history of prolific and predatory sexual harassment within a specific base location”. That base is understood to be Luton.
The March report said the trust would “establish a programme of change and development to address the reports of sexual harassment and change the behaviours of staff and managers that enable it to thrive”.
EEAST’s director of HR, director of communications, and chief operating officer were tasked with training staff by the end of August 2020, the report said.
Trust bosses also said at the time it would “create a culture of zero tolerance” to sexual harassment.
But when the CQC visited in June and July, they criticised EEAST’s lack of action.
Inspectors said: “There was a lack of recognition of the seriousness of the concerns and impact on patient and staff safety amongst the executive team.”
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