Last year, members of our campaign witnessed an embarrassing presentation to the Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) Board of Directors meeting at Swaffham during which the NSFT Deputy Medical Director with responsibility for research asked for money to ‘pump-prime’ NSFT’s research programmes. An NSFT Governor and member of our campaign asked how NSFT could consider subsidising loss-making research activity, which had previously been promoted as a moneyspinner, when NSFT was in financial distress and cutting core services. To its credit, the NSFT Board agreed with us and refused the application. Sadly, it’s worth remembering that our campaign and other members of the public, including governors, service users and carers, have since been gagged from asking questions at NSFT Board meetings until the end, when the discussions are over and decisions have been made.
Now, as part of its latest management restructure, NSFT is asking for ‘expressions of interest’ in the newly-created post of Director of Research despite NSFT already employing a Research Manager and facing £36 million of further cuts to mental health services already deemed inadequate by the CQC. In the job description, a PhD or M.D. is not even mentioned as desirable never mind essential. Normally, one would expect a Director of Research to have a PhD and a substantial postdoctoral track record of securing research funding and a considerable portfolio of research papers in prestigious journals. Yet, the apparent ‘shoo-in’ candidate at NSFT possesses none of the aforementioned but will be paid a staggering salary of around £150,000 per year if he gets the job. That’s more than the Secretary of State at the Department of Health, Jeremy Hunt.
Sadly, NSFT doesn’t seem too bothered about trying to attract other candidates, given that it asked for expressions of interest from a limited number of existing staff and did so only ten calendar days before the closing date, itself falling on a Bank Holiday. So we thought we’d help.
If you are a Consultant Psychiatrist or Band 8c Consultant Clinical Psychologist with at least five years of experience and do have a PhD and a substantial research track record, why not contact the NSFT Medical Director, Bohdan Solomka?
Our campaign would like to see NSFT appoint an outstanding candidate who isn’t the Clinical Director of a private sector competitor to NSFT ‘on the side’ and who will commit to deliver the 7.5 sessions (half-days) of direct NHS clinical work that NSFT is supposed to expect of its consultants, even better a clinician who will deliver at least five sessions of face-to-face clinical work each week. It isn’t too much to ask for up to £150,000 per year, is it?
We’ll be returning to the new management structure again soon.