An individual frontline worker at East Kent Hospital University Foundation Trust has accused the Trust’s Chairman Niall Dickson CBE (pictured) of sexual assault. They claim the event happened in the Spring of 2023 on Trust property.
The safety of NHS frontline staff is paramount. This is fully supported by the NHS England Sexual safety in healthcare – organisational charter. It we believe, trumps and/or outweighs, any rights to privacy owed to Mr Dickson.
Mr Dickson was appointed chair of East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust in April 2021.
Last Monday, we the Shepway Vox Team wrote to the Trust’s interim company secretary Michael Wood, who is the “conscience of the organisation“, with a short list of questions regarding the allegations. To date there has been no response from the Trust about the allegations.
What we do know is that two investigations into sexual misconduct have been opened, one specifically looking at the allegations made against Mr Dickson, the other as a Trust wide investigation.
On the 4 Sept 2023, NHS England released their Sexual safety in healthcare – organisational charter. The charter commits to a zero-tolerance approach to any unwanted, inappropriate and/or harmful sexual behaviours towards the workforce. NHS England commit to the following principles and actions to achieve this:
- We will actively work to eradicate sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace.
- We will promote a culture that fosters openness and transparency, and does not tolerate unwanted, harmful and/or inappropriate sexual behaviours.
- We will take an intersectional approach to the sexual safety of our workforce, recognising certain groups will experience sexual harassment and abuse at a disproportionate rate.
- We will provide appropriate support for those in our workforce who experience unwanted, inappropriate and/or harmful sexual behaviours.
- We will clearly communicate standards of behaviour. This includes expected action for those who witness inappropriate, unwanted and/or harmful sexual behaviour.
- We will ensure appropriate, specific, and clear policies are in place. They will include appropriate and timely action against alleged perpetrators.
- We will ensure appropriate, specific, and clear training is in place.
- We will ensure appropriate reporting mechanisms are in place for those experiencing these behaviours.
- We will take all reports seriously and appropriate and timely action will be taken in all cases.
- We will capture and share data on prevalence and staff experience transparently.
To date 56 different organizations have signed up to the charter, but our Trust is not one of them. Let’s hope EKHUFT will sign up to the charter, given there are two open investigations into sexual misconduct ongoing in our Trust right now.
The Shepway Vox Team
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