Julia Squire - Wakefield Council leader’s “scapegoat” claim

Coun Peter Box
Coun Peter Box

THE former boss of Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust was “made a scapegoat” for failings at the cash-strapped organisation she left last night, council leader Peter Box has claimed.

Coun Box has called for further action to restore faith in the trust after Julia Squire stepped down as chief executive - just days after it was revealed to be facing a deficit of almost £20m.

The trust has faced mounting criticism of the handling of its finances.

And its controversial overnight closure of Pontefract A&E

has sparked an angry public backlash.

In a statement issued this afternoon, Coun Box said failings at the under-fire trust could not be blamed on one person.

He said: “Whilst it was right that the chief executive should stand down, she has clearly been made a scapegoat. Her resignation is not sufficient to tackle the longstanding and deep rooted problems of the trust.

“The board has collective responsibility for the systematic failures which have occurred, and they must be accountable for what has gone on.”

Ms Squire is set to start a new role with the NHS Confederation. Stephen Eames, chief executive of County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, will join Mid Yorkshire as interim chief executive in March.

Chief nurse Tracey McErlain-Burns is currently acting chief executive.

Speaking earlier today, Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett said Ms Squire’s departure was inevitable.

He said: “The main thing now is to focus on the future. This is a chance to make a new start and the new chief executive needs to be very determined and very bold to solve the problems the trust is facing.”