NHS boss sacked after fake law degree controversy

Mason Fitzgerald has been appointed new chief executive of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

Mason Fitzgerald, who quit the region's struggling mental health trust earlier this year - Credit: NSFT

An NHS boss who claimed to have a law degree from a university he never graduated from has been sacked.

Mason Fitzgerald had been due to become chief executive of the region's struggling mental health trust, the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT).

He withdrew his application for chief executive in March. 

It came after the BBC revealed that Mr Fitzgerald's LinkedIn profile, NHS board papers and a medical journal wrongly stated that he had a Master of Laws degree (LLM) from the University of Georgia.

In fact, he had never graduated.

Mason Fitzgerald

Mason Fitzgerald's LinkedIn profile lists the LLM from the University of Georgia. The profile was recently changed to state that the degree was not awarded. - Credit: LinkedIn

Now the East London NHS Foundation Trust, to which he returned after leaving NSFT, has confirmed his dismissal.

A spokesman said: "Following the completion of ELFT's internal disciplinary processes, executive director of planning and performance Mason Fitzgerald has been dismissed.

"The trust will not be issuing any further statements on this matter."

The news comes a day after the NSFT, which has now been in special measures for more than four years, appointed current chief operating officer Stuart Richardson as its new chief executive.

He will take over from the interim boss Dr Adam Morris, who was hired temporarily from Devon-based community interest company Livewell Southwest in May.

Stuart Richardson chief operating officer at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), sa

Stuart Richardson chief operating officer at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), said demand for services is high Photo: NSFT - Credit: Archant

The NSFT hired law firm Capsticks to investigate Mr Fitzgerald's qualifications in late February.

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Trust bosses said a resulting probe found it had “robust recruitment processes in place,” but it should “strengthen the process” when submitting information in its annual reports.

Its latest annual report stated Mr Fitzgerald had an LLM, as did two recent annual reports of the ELFT.

But an NSFT spokesman said he was clear with them that he did not have a LLM from the University of Georgia when he applied for the deputy chief executive and chief executive posts.

Mr Fitzgerald had been due to take over at the troubled trust in April of this year, replacing retiring former chief Jonathan Warren, who had also joined the trust from ELFT.

NSFT was rated as 'requiring improvement' by the Care Quality Commission at their last inspection in January 2020. It was kept in special measures, having become the first mental health trust in the country to be given this status back in 2015.