JOHN Goulston – the interim chief executive of Croydon University Hospital – has applied for the top job permanently, despite receiving a vote of no confidence from hospital board members due to dwindling standards under his watch.
News of the dissatisfaction in Mr Goulston's performance comes as a third director is set to leave Croydon Health Services NHS Trust – the trust that runs the hospital. Richard Parker, director of operations, will leave on January 11, the Advertiser understands.
It comes weeks after we revealed hospital chairman Michael Parker was "asked" to resign by NHS London – the strategic health authority which appoints the chairman – and a week after news that Karen Jones, a non-executive director, has stepped down.
The Advertiser understands Mr Goulston, who was hit with a vote of no confidence by the hospital's non-executive directors before Michael Parker's departure, sent an e-mail saying Richard Parker is being made redundant.
The further departure has heightened fears the hospital will continue to struggle longer than is necessary in getting its house in order, after a turbulent year of resignations, questionable decisions and damning reports.
Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell suggested everybody's role at the hospital needs to be scrutinised in the interests of care.
He said: "Someone needs to take a good look at the whole thing."
A spokesman for health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) added: "Poor or inconsistent management can have an impact on patient care."
The vote of no confidence in Mr Goulston would have allowed Michael Parker to bring his interim contract to a premature end, the Advertiser understands, but the chairman was asked to resign by NHS London before he could do that. A rift between the pair has been rumbling on for several weeks.
In August the CQC found standards at Croydon University Hospital had deteriorated further and issued two "major impact" warnings – the highest category and unprecedented in the hospital's history. Mr Goulston was appointed interim chief executive five months previously in March.
It has also emerged that Mike Spyer and Ruth Carnall, chairman and chief executive of NHS London respectively, advised the vice-chairman of the hospital, Constance Hall, not to become acting chairman after Michael Parker's departure – something the Advertiser was told may be in breach of Croydon trust's constitution.
An interim chairman will not be taking over until January 2, meaning the hospital will have been without a chairman for three weeks.
A source said: "NHS London is interfering with things in Croydon to the detriment of local healthcare services. To block the vice-chair becoming acting chair is just irresponsible when it comes to patient care."
NHS London and Croydon University Hospital had not commented at the time of going to press.