The reputation of a senior executive at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital is in tatters today after he was convicted of stalking and witness intimidation.
Karl Perryman was found guilty of the charges by a jury at Lynn Crown Court on Tuesday, following a two-week trial.
The case poses questions for local NHS management, though the hospital has so far declined to say whether Perryman remains one of its employees, insisting it would be “inappropriate” to comment further.
But officials have insisted that “comprehensive” systems are in place, and have now been strengthened, to enable hospital staff to raise issues of concern.
Giving evidence during the two-week trial, Perryman’s victim, Joanne O’Neill, claimed that senior bosses at the QEH had refused to get involved when she complained about Perryman’s behaviour towards her.
She said: “I felt the Trust didn’t want to deal with the issue.
“I did speak out. The Trust did nothing, they said it’s a ‘different style of management’.”
And, in her closing speech last Friday, defence barrister Susannah Stevens told the jury the case was “far removed” from what the public would expect to happen in a hospital.
Perryman, the hospital’s head of legal services, had been suspended by the Trust pending the outcome of the court case against him.
However, the hospital has said it cannot confirm whether or not he remains an employee, after taking legal advice on the issue.
A spokesman also said he could not confirm whether Perryman had been, or was still being, paid his salary by the Trust.
But, in a statement released after the verdicts were announced, Gerry Dryden, the hospital’s director of human resources, said: “The Trust acknowledges the verdict of the court in respect of its employee, Karl Perryman.
“The Trust will now carefully consider the verdict and take such steps as it considers appropriate in the circumstances.
“It would be inappropriate for the Trust to comment further on this case at this time.”
“In terms of our policies and procedures, the Trust has a comprehensive range of systems to enable staff who wish to raise concerns to do so.
“These policies have been developed, and are regularly reviewed, jointly with our union partners to ensure they remain robust and relevant.
“The Trust’s whistleblowing policy was recently strengthened by the addition of a formal link with the charity Public Concern at Work.
“This partnership will ensure that staff continue to have access to a range of support when raising concerns externally.
“A new more robust appraisal system has also been agreed by management and the unions.”