Ex-Southport and Ormskirk NHS director 'would have been dismissed'
The former human resources director of a hospital trust would have been dismissed for gross misconduct had she not resigned, a panel has ruled.
Sharon Partington stood down after she was suspended by Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust following whistleblowing complaints last year.
The trust said it was "obliged to complete the disciplinary process".
Former chief operating officer Sheilah Finnegan, who has since retired, was cleared of misconduct.
Chief executive Jonathan Parry was sacked last month amid the allegations, the details of which have never been revealed.
The trust said it was required to continue with the disciplinary process due to the former staff members' seniority.
In a statement, the trust said: "It was determined that the former director of human resources would have been dismissed as a consequence of gross misconduct had she remained in employment.
"Ms Partington has the right of appeal against the decision."
The disciplinary panel ruled that no action would have been taken against Ms Finnegan.
The trust's deputy director of performance, Richard McCarthy, was cleared of misconduct at an earlier hearing.
Chairman Sue Musson said she would like to "acknowledge the bravery of the individual who came forward and spoke out about their concerns".
She said the "overriding objective" had been to handle the matter "appropriately and fairly".
"Following this difficult time for everyone concerned, the trust now has an opportunity to focus on the future," she added.
However, Southport councillor and local Liberal Democrat NHS spokesman Tony Dawson criticised the process.
He said: "Two valued NHS employees who had given many years of service to the local hospital were publicly placed in the firing line and hung out to dry when they were apparently without fault.
"Surely, the inquiry which now needs to be held is into the competence and actions of the people who decided to suspend the four managers in the way that they did originally."