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Data Protection and Freedom of Information Team

Request for information FS50815962[Ref. FS50815962]

Dear Ms Pearce, 12-07-19 11.45 am

This is a preliminary response.  I first asked Mrs Leslie Darke,  Executive Director of Estates and Commercial Development at TSDFT, in October 2018 whether staff leaving before  retirement were asked in a kindly way their reasons for leaving.  She was a board member.  She was obliged under the Freedom of Information Act to reply to my simple question within 20 days, and without a need for me to cite this STATUTE and her obligations under it.  I asked her again and received this -

21-12-18  Dear David,  Thank you for your question. Via this e-mail I will ask my colleague the Director of Workforce to respond to your question. Happy Christmas to you too. Kind Regards  Lesley

I heard nothing from the 'Director of Workforce'.

I am in my 80th year, a retired orthopaedic and trauma consultant.  I do not have excellent secretaries, my right hands, that I had at Torbay and Exeter, and in my own surgery at home.   I have retained a detailed interest and knowledge of OUR NHS.  I have given written advice, in volumes, to the CCG in cogent arguments against closure of the Community Hospitals for instance, these being vital to the proper working of our medical services.  Prompt and SAFE discharge from acute care in a DGH to a professionally staffed Community Hospital is vital.  Not one word of this advice was contained in the summary of the 'consultation' prepared by a lay person within 'Healthwatch' Torbay.  The substitute of 'Care at Home' or 'Intermediate Care' is shown to be unsafe and delayed discharges are now much more common.  The local trust has cunningly used the same title, 'Intermediate Care' which it funds,  that it had recently used for the Community Hospital.  The latter is chalk and cheese.

I see all the main performance indicators both nationally and locally of OUR NHS getting worse.  Almost every day the media reports deterioration.  We have had the Medical Director, Dr Rob Dyer, appealing on a Sunday I recall, and on the regional TV and radio, for people to avoid attending Torbay A&E, because it could not cope - as at the 'Royal' Cornwall currently.  The attached newspaper article shows just how far the service has fallen (View article as PDF).

So you offer me a trite apology almost 9 months from when I first asked Mrs Darke a very important question.  '"Informatics", an Orwell word, has nothing to offer the elderly lady with chronic heart failure.  Nurses, with high morale and a first class and inspiring training behind them have a great deal to offer, and particularly for a sickly population.  I do not accept the apology and ask that the ICO, which has delayed due to overwhelming pressure of complaints I imagine, should publish this totally unacceptable silence over 9 months.

I add.  I have read your current, officious questionnaire.  I imagine that any nurse or other staff member who 'has had enough' would bin it.  I know the fear staff have in speaking out regarding poor practice, insufficient trained staff etc etc.  They would guess that a completed questionnaire would not be taken much notice of (just as my question was cast aside) and would not be certain it would remain confidential.  I had in mind a kindly parting with a manager who would tell his/her senior why yet another valued member of staff was leaving.  You will know perhaps that most CH nursing staff left the service for good.

Questions do arise and require a response under 20 days.

  1. How many questionnaires of the earlier type were completed by leaving staff as a percentage?

  2. Did all staff who were leaving receive that earlier questionnaire?

  3. When did the Trust HR department cease offering it with its SIXTY questions?

  4. ("After approx 10 years of using a format with over 60 questions, a new format has been introduced recently dramatically reducing the amount of questions and the format is currently in a “trial” stage and results will be reviewed later in the year as to the success of the new format.”)

  5. When was the revised "Exit" Questionnaire introduced, that being triggered by the "termination form" from the relevant manager?

  6. How many questionnaires of this latest type have been completed by leaving staff - as a percentage?

I look forward to a prompt response Ms Pearce.

yours sincerely

David Halpin MB BS FRCS  Formerly Senior Consultant Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgeon based at Torbay Hospital
and the Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Hospital Exeter.