Ex-Southern Health chief under fire for new £240k job

Katrina Percy, former chief executive of Southern Health
Katrina Percy, former chief executive of Southern Health

South Central Ambulance Service holding forum event

  • Portsmouth council leader hits out at the move
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THE decision to give the outgoing boss of the heavily-criticised Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust a new role has been called a ‘sad indictment of the NHS’.

Katrina Percy announced her decision to stand aside as chief executive, but she is to stay on as a strategic adviser, a trust spokeswoman said, still earning up to £240,000 a year.

Ms Percy will be ‘providing strategic advice to local GP leaders’ and her salary will not change, the spokeswoman added.

Last year, she earned a salary of at least £185,000 plus at least £52,500 in pension-related benefits.

Ms Percy said she was stepping aside from the top job after her position became ‘untenable’.

But she will still be earning almost £100,000 more than the prime minister.

The revelation has appalled Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones.

In a scathing critique, the Tory council boss said: ‘Is it any wonder that the funding of the NHS is in such a dire position when they decide to employ a “consultant” with such a diabolical record on a £240,000 salary?

‘I think Katrina Percy’s new position is a very sad state of affairs and a sad indictment of the NHS as a whole and its woeful HR process.

‘If she had been in local government she would have been managed out a long time ago.’

The trust has been the subject of independent government reviews since it was revealed it failed to investigate the unexpected deaths of hundreds of its patients between 2011 and 2015, including 18-year-old Connor Sparrowhawk who died in 2013.

In October, a jury inquest ruled that neglect contributed to the death of Mr Sparrowhawk, who drowned after a seizure at Slade House in Headington, Oxfordshire.

And an inquest in May revealed gaps in the trust’s safeguarding procedures may have contributed to the death of Havant man David Hinks, who took his own life in December last year.

In a statement, Ms Percy said the move to resign after nine years had been ‘difficult’.

She added: ‘I am delighted to be taking on an alternative role, providing strategic advice to local GP leaders as they work with others to transform the way in which health services are delivered across Hampshire, and I feel that now is the right time to take on that new challenge.

‘I know, and understand, that many will say I should have stepped down sooner given the very public concerns which have been raised in the past months.

‘I stayed on as I firmly believed it was my responsibility to oversee the necessary improvements and to continue the groundbreaking work we have begun with GPs to transform patient care.’

Fareham MP Suella Fernandes backed Ms Percy’s move and said it would provide a chance for ‘fresh leadership’ and a ‘new direction’ at the trust.

Julie Dawes is now the acting interim chief executive.