Alexandra Hospital: Trust chair denies 'crisis' claims
An NHS Trust where five A&E consultants quit simultaneously is not "in crisis" but experiencing "difficult circumstances", its chairman said.
The consultants resigned from Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust earlier in February.
The trust also faces a £27.6m deficit, has struggled to meet A&E targets and is subject to a bullying inquiry.
Trust chairman Harry Turner said the consultants' departure was not connected to the bullying allegations.
'No institutional bullying'
"Having spoken to all of them for several hours, I am convinced bullying did not play a part in their reasons for leaving," he told BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester.
"I'm not going to share the reasons why they left."
Several of the consultants are due to leave in May and Mr Turner said he hoped by then to have replacements and locum cover in place.
On Tuesday, the trust said an independent inquiry would look at the way bullying reports at its hospitals are handled.
The investigation comes after former Alexandra Hospital sister Mandy Bridgman claimed 30 nurses left over a two-year period up to 2013 - many because of bullying.
However, the trust said those bullying allegations were investigated and found to be unfounded.
Mr Turner said: "Do I think there is institutional bullying? Absolutely not.
"I don't think we are in a crisis. We are experiencing difficult circumstances."
He said he expected the review - which relates to two allegations made since 2013 - to be completed in a month.
Troubles at the trust
- In 2013, it was announced services at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch could be moved to other hospitals
- In January, the trust's predicted budget deficit had nearly doubled, it was announced
- The trust has struggled to meet A&E waiting time targets
- It banned paramedic Stuart Gardner from its sites after he told reporters he had seen patients being treated in corridors at the Worcester Royal Hospital. The trust later apologised
- The trust has said it is to investigate claims of a bullying culture
- Five A&E consultants announced they were leaving the trust earlier this month
The trust runs Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Kidderminster Hospital and Alexandra Hospital in Redditch.
Mr Turner said a "controversial" three-year reconfiguration of services had been the "backdrop" to many of the problems.
The trust plans to save £50m by running services, such as some maternity and children's services, only out of certain hospitals.
"It's been extremely difficult for the staff, particularly the staff at the Alexandra Hospital who have just not had clarity," he said.