North-East hospitals boss sacked for gross misconduct after lengthy investigation

Sir Leonard Fenwick.
Sir Leonard Fenwick.

An NHS chief executive has been sacked for gross misconduct following an investigation into allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

Sir Leonard Fenwick, who has been at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for 40 years, had been on gardening leave since January as the investigation was carried


A statement from the trust said "allegations relating to inappropriate behaviour, use of resources and a range of governance issues" had been proven against him.

The trust said, due to the serious nature of the findings, it had reported a number of concerns to the NHS counter fraud and security management services.

It said: "After giving very careful consideration to all the evidence presented at the two-day hearing, the disciplinary panel found that allegations relating to inappropriate behaviour, use of

resources and a range of governance issues were proven.

"As a result the panel took the decision to dismiss Sir Leonard from his role as chief executive on the grounds of gross misconduct.

"This decision was not taken lightly, but made after very careful, lengthy and detailed consideration of the investigation report and Sir Leonard's response to the allegations."

Sir Leonard appealed against the decision and a second panel was convened but it upheld the original decision.

The statement said: "The first priority of the board of directors and our highly skilled and committed staff is always to provide the highest quality of care to our patients, and they have

diligently and very successfully maintained and enhanced that focus in recent months and will continue to do so."

Sir Leonard has still to respond to the verdict.

In March, the trust denied that Sir Leonard had been placed on leave after he uncovered an alleged sex ring involving hospital staff.

The investigation was carried out by a "HR specialist" from outside the trust following the sex ring allegations.

The trust strongly refuted the accusation and said they had a duty to protect the confidentiality of their staff.

Born and bred in Newcastle, Sir Leonard first started working for the trust in 1965 and has since overseen huge changes in the healthcare provided.

He is said to be Britain's longest serving medical director.

Since he was placed on leave, the responsibilities of the trust's chief executive have been shared by Louise Robson, executive director of business and development, and medical director

Andy Welch.