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Dr Mary-Teresa Deignan represented Helen Lockett, former Director of Operations and Executive Nurse at Liverpool Community NHS Trust, over 94 days. Allegations of misconduct, including concealing concerns, bullying and the downgrading of risks, arose in the context of upheaval in the NHS including unprecedented cutbacks in funding in the NHS, increased demand for health care services in the community and national issues in the recruitment and retention of district nurses.
This highly complex case has highlighted unique funding difficulties faced by Community Trusts, the complexities of governance structures, tensions between Community and Acute Trusts and questions around the accountability of individual members of NHS staff, commissioners and ‘arms of government’ in the context of government policy. Ms Lockett was made the subject of a suspension order for twelve months with a review, a decision that has created significant political controversy.