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Trust to launch whistleblowing hotline to tackle 'bullying culture'

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Foundation Trust will this month launch a whistleblowers hotline, after a review found that a “culture of bullying” left some staff scared to raise safety concerns.

The “contactline” to allow staff to report issues without going through “normal line management structures” was one of the recommendations of an August 2010 governance review by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, a trust board paper from March states.

The review found there were areas of the foundation “where staff did not believe that they [were] able to raise genuinely held concerns about patient safety with more senior colleagues”.

The board paper continues: “In some cases, a culture of bullying was cited and ‘junior staff keep their heads down’ and did not report such incidents for fear of retribution.”

It adds that PwC’s findings were supported by the 2009 NHS staff survey. It found the percentages of trust respondents experiencing discrimination at work, bullying or abuse from staff, and physical violence from staff were all in the bottom fifth of trusts nationally.

The paper, however, notes that since last August the trust has been addressing the 60 recommendations within the PwC report and was formally de-escalated from a red to an amber-green rating by regulator Monitor in late December.

The 2010 staff survey also showed improvement, with its scores better than average for staff perception of fairness of incident reporting procedures, and on staff experiencing physical violence from staff.

But, in spite of this, the percentage of staff reporting harassment or bullying from colleagues remained worse than average for acute trusts. The proportion reporting good communication between senior management and staff “scored in the worst 20 per cent of acute trusts in 2009 and unfortunately has seen a further deterioration in 2010”, the paper said.

In a statement, the trust acknowledged that “issues were identified for improvement” in both the governance review reported by PwC and in the 2010 NHS staff survey.

Trust director of human resources and organisational development Jon Lenney said: “Since the staff survey was completed in November 2010, we have approved and initiated a number of actions which we believe will address the main areas where improvement is required. We look forward to improved results in the 2011 survey.”

Readers' comments (6)

  • I have enjoyed a happy nursing career for 40years,during the past five years I left my job because of a bullying line manager.It is by no means an easy task to report,especially when the person doing the bullying is the one who is supposed to be supportive & who also supplies work references.

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  • I worked in the above Trust for about 5 years, in the recent past. In a 30 year nursing career, I have never experienced anything like the culture that prevailed there. There was bullying from the top down and bullying from the bottom up. Those who tried to baulk against the culture or report it through appropriate channels ended up off sick with stress or anxiety. I am pleased this report has both highlighted the issues and is triggering some improvements. It's too late for the people whose careers, or personal lives, have been derailed through trying to stand up for what is morally and professioanlly right. But here's hoping that it doesn't continue to happen.

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  • The False Claims Act provides a legal tool to counteract fraudulent billings turned in to the Federal Government. Use hotline whistleblower .

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  • http://www.law29.com/pages/practice-areas/qui-tam-whistleblower-cases.php

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  • I have just left the NHS after being bullied mainly by senior staff. I worked for the NHS for 8 years and in 2 separate jobs was bullied.

    This problem is getting worse within the NHS, colleagues who I have spoke to about this have all stated to have been bullied at one time or another whilst working in the NHS.

    I ended up having a breakdown due to the treatment I received, I went through all the channels as set by the trust i worked for and it made things worse.

    My advice to anybody is get out and find a more enjoyable environment to work in.

    I now am a RN in the private sector nursing young people with disabilities and for once in my career my views and role is respected. I was ready for leaving the nursing profession, nowadays I look forward to going into work instead of the dread I used to feel and I am at last proud to call myself a nurse.

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  • wouldn't it be of greater value to have a national line rather than each trust making up its own rules?

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