A mental health trust boss has called on staff to suggest changes after the damning results of a survey showed more than two-thirds of its workers thought there was a culture of bullying, fear and blame.
Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust chief executive Lisa Rodrigues has made an unreserved apology after the results of the staff survey emerged, the Hastings and St Leonards Observer has reported.
Some 68% of those taking part in a staff survey said the trust’s working culture was “signified by traits of blame, fear and bullying”.
Meanwhile, nearly half (44%) of those working for the trust, which runs the Woodlands mental health unit in St Leonards, East Sussex, criticised its management.
Just under a third (32%) said the trust’s board and senior management were out of touch with them, with 53% saying senior managers should spend more time on the front line.
Ms Rodrigues was reported as saying: “They said we are not as good as we should be at explaining why changes need to happen, or taking their ideas and feelings into account during times of change or when services are under increased levels of demand.
“I want to apologise unreservedly to our staff who feel like this.”
She said the survey had also revealed some “extremely positive findings” such as a strong teamwork, hard work and a commitment among staff to provide “safe, compassionate, evidence-based services for vulnerable people”.
However, she added: “But, and it is a big but, some of those who responded were critical of our culture and leadership style, particularly when things go wrong.
“This leaves people feeling stressed and anxious at times when they most need help and support from senior colleagues.”
The survey also found that only 21% of staff thought they had a good relationship with their manager with 26% feeling they were treated like children or patronised by management.
Nearly a third (32%) complained there was a lack of trust in them by management while 47% felt they were not consulted or allowed to have a voice at work.
Just over a fifth (21%) felt it was either unsafe to ask questions at work or thought their ideas were not heeded or blocked while 35% called for the trust’s blame culture to be stopped.
18 February 2014