DUDLEY Group’s chairman has hit back at comments made by former hospital governors that they were merely “rubber-stamper” and unable to raise important issues with directors.

Former governors Bill Etheridge and Major Robbins called for bosses at the borough’s hospitals to be sacked in the wake of the Keogh report which criticised staffing levels at Russells Hall and the Trust’s complaints process.

Both claim they quit their posts in frustration after being repeatedly told they were unable to raise issues relating to operational matters.

John Edwards, chairman of the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, confirmed the Council of Governors does not get involved in the day to day running of the Trust as “that is the job of the Board of Directors”.

But he stressed: “They are there to reassure themselves this is being done appropriately and if not to challenge those decisions.”

He said the Council of Governors “exists to reassure the local communities that The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust is being effectively run by the Board of Directors”.

And he added: “Our Governors reassure themselves through a variety of channels, they have regular meetings with executive and non executive directors and senior managers on specific topics and issues and receive reports at their full council meetings for debate on key performance indicators.

“They actively seek the views of their local communities and feed these back into the Trust Board and take part in patient safety walk rounds to gain the views of patients for the Board.

“They have regular contact with the board of directors, often daily, and can raise any concerns or issues they have openly.”

The Trust which has avoided being placed in special measures, has already revised its complaints process and plans to recruit 18 new nurses.