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Suffolk/Essex: NHS staff survey results show one in five feel they’re bullied

11:00 20 May 2014

Colchester General Hospital

Colchester General Hospital

Less than half of staff at two hospitals in Suffolk and north Essex are confident about actions being taken against whistleblowing concerns, according to a survey.

The 2013 NHS staff survey has revealed variations in the quality and safety culture of hospitals with 48% of staff at Ipswich Hospital and Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust least confident in relation to whistleblowing while 56% at West Suffolk Hospital were most confident. The national average is 53%.

At West Suffolk Hospital, 86% of staff were satisfied with the quality of care they provide, 81% at Ipswich Hospital and 77% at Colchester Hospital compared to 84% nationally. In relation to staff experiencing bullying or harassment from managers and colleagues, the survey showed 21% at West Suffolk Hospital, 26% at Colchester Hospital and 30% at Ipswich Hospital. The national average stands at 24%.

Karen Webb, Royal College of Nursing for the Eastern region which looked at the findings, said: “It is shocking that one in five staff say they experience bullying or harassment from their managers or other colleagues. There is still far too much bullying and harassment of staff and it is imperative that changes. Staff who are treated well deliver better care.”

A Colchester Hospital University Foundation NHS Trust spokesman said the survey showed an “improving position” overall from 2012, but the bullying and harassment results, and staff satisfaction with quality of care were “disappointing”.

A number of actions are being taken to make improvements such as a review of policies on tackling bullying and harassment and the launch of a confidential anonymous Raising Concerns helpline.

Chief executive Kim Hodgson said: “Everyone has a right to be treated with dignity and respect at work. Bullying or harassment at this trust shall not be tolerated. Everyone who works for us should always consider whether their actions and behaviour are appropriate in the workplace.

“Managers in particular must ensure that their actions and inactions could not be misconstrued to be bullying or harassment when dealing with an employee.”

Ipswich Hospital chief executive Nick Hulme welcomed the results and said the hospital is working with staff to encourage concerns to be raised, set out the confidentiality and support given to anyone who raises a concern and work with staff representatives to significantly reduce staff experience of bullying or harassment.

Jan Bloomfield, West Suffolk Hospital’s director of workforce, said the results were very positive for the hospital.

She added: “We were especially pleased so many staff were satisfied with the quality of patient care they are able to provide and feel confident action will be taken if concerns are raised. This is a key area for us, as our aim is to promote a culture of openness and transparency where colleagues are able to raise potential issues without any fear of reprisal. We have continued our dialogue with staff since receiving these results, and have strengthened our whistleblowing policy as a result of the feedback.”

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