We have been told that the governors of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) were placed under what we consider to be inappropriate pressure to approve the appointment of Antek Lejk as its Chief Executive. The ballot was not secret.
Even the usually compliant governors of NSFT had deep reservations after Mr Lejk’s poor performances in front of both the staff and service user and carer appointment panels and, in the end, six of those present at the Council of Governors meeting refused to vote to approve Mr Lejk’s appointment. All of those who voted against are service user, carer or youth governors and volunteers. One is a bereaved mother whose son died whilst in the trust’s care.
Only nine of NSFT’s twenty-seven Governors voted in favour and nearly half of the nine are the four NSFT staff governors who were on the NSFT payroll when they voted. Another is the Lead Governor.
At least one governor who objected to the approval of Antek Lejk and indicated that they could not attend the meeting at short notice was told that they could not vote by proxy.
Antek Lejk’s appointment was approved by only one-third of NSFT’s governors.
We now understand that the staff and service user and carer appointment panels and the Council of Governors were not made aware of the failings of Cornwall PCT when Mr Lejk was its Director of Primary Care.
NSFT’s Board employed external recruitment consultants at the cost of many thousands of pounds.
Five minutes of due diligence on Google uncovers the transcript of Antek Lejk’s evidence before the Health Select Committee of the House of Commons.
Surely all candidates should be presented ‘warts and all’.
This is an excerpt of the Daily Mail report of the GMC hearing after the two deaths that followed from the failure of Cornwall PCT to properly check Dr Ubani’s credentials and its decision to give the German cosmetic surgeon with poor English permission to practise as a GP in England:
Dr Ubani flew to Britain on February 15, 2008 to cover a weekend shift for out-of-hours service Take Care Now in Cambridgeshire, and after a few hours sleep was sent out to see patients.
They included Mr Gray, a retired electronic design engineer, who lived in the village of Manea and was suffering acute pain from suspected kidney stones.
His partner, Lynda Bubb, said he regularly needed 100mg injections of pain-relieving pethidine, but without checking his medical history Dr Ubani mistakenly administered a 100mg dose of the painkiller diamorphine – ten times the recommended dosage.
‘Blissfully unaware’ that his patient was dying, Dr Ubani moved on to a care home in Ely where he saw Mrs Edwards, who had a history of heart problems.
He failed to carry out a proper physical examination or send her to hospital, and she died the following day.
Earlier in the day Dr Ubani also prescribed inappropriate medication to a migraine sufferer who later had to be taken to hospital.
An inquest into Mr Gray’s death ruled that he had been unlawfully killed, although a hearing into the death of Mrs Edwards said it was not clear whether she would have lived if she’d been taken to hospital.
Dr Ubani refused to attend disciplinary proceedings at the GMC in Manchester, saying in an email that it would ‘not serve any positive purpose’.
Today it found him guilty of misconduct over a range of failings, including administering drugs with which he was unfamiliar.
In a damning conclusion, chairman of the fitness to practise panel Dr Brian Alderman expressed ‘grave concerns’ about Dr Ubani’s competence.
The doctor’s actions had presented a ‘significant risk to patients as he failed to recognise and work within the limits of his own competence’, he added.
‘He made serious errors. We have concerns about his insight into his failings.’
The panel also found Dr Ubani’s actions brought the medical profession into disrepute and breached a number of its fundamental tenets.
And it added: ‘The panel form the view that it is highly unlikely that he has remedied his deficiencies, and furthermore the panel are satisfied that there remains a risk of Dr Ubani repeating such actions in the future.’
Mr Lejk’s Cornwall PCT gave Dr Ubani permission to practise medicine in England.
We have long-standing concerns about the priority given to patient safety at NSFT.
Antek Lejk is clearly not the right person to restore service user, carer and public confidence in mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk.
Click on the image below to read more about the role of Cornwall PCT in the out-of-hours deaths scandal: