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Bournemouth trust to set up 24-hour bullying helpline for staff

An acute trust plans to open a 24-hour helpline for its staff, after almost 30% reported being bullied by colleagues and managers.

Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals Foundation Trust made the decision when 28% of the organisation’s employees who responded to the 2013 NHS staff survey reported experiencing abuse from managers and other staff in the 12 months to last October.

This compares with 23% of staff experiencing workplace bullying from colleagues or line managers nationally.

Bosses at the £250m turnover trust have also produced a draft version of a bullying awareness booklet, which they aim to distribute to hospital managers, according to recent board papers.

Separately, 30% of the 465 trust staff who responded to the survey reported that they had experienced bullying and harassment from patients and members of the public over the same period. This compares with 29% of NHS staff nationally.

The trust, which employs approximately 3,660 staff, is exploring the possibility of buying the reporting line service from the company Care First, which already provides the organisation’s employee assistance programme.

Board documents disclose that the company offered the trust a quote of £4,700 a year to provide the bullying phone line.

The trust has resolved to organise more diversity training sessions for staff after ten per cent of those who responded to last year’s staff survey reported experiencing discrimination from managers, team leaders or other colleagues.

Eight per cent of survey respondents nationally reported that they had experienced discrimination at work from other colleagues.

A trust spokeswoman said: “Since the national staff survey was carried out …we have introduced a ‘Staff Impressions’ survey…where we also ask a number of additional questions about their work experience.

“We have asked the same staff survey question around experiences of bullying and harassment in the past 12 months,” she said.

Our latest survey for June shows that 20% have, so we are already seeing a decrease, with 739 members of staff responding to the June survey,” she added.

Readers' comments (5)

  • And then the trust will do what?

    My old trust had all manner of anti-bullying and harassment policies; several senior clinicians, including me, made formal complaints against one particular manager for bullying and harassment (none of the admin staff, including one who was assaulted by this manager, did as they all felt they would be ignored); none of the complaints were adequately investigated (I was a complaints investigator) and so nothing was ever done, aside from lifting the edge of a very sizeable carpet...

    Every trust has anti-bullying policies, but do ANY of them ever take action against bullying management?

    This looks like yet another hollow gesture, designed to give the appearance of action - typical NHS!

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  • michael stone

    Basket Press, your cynicism could be well-founded: but I doubt that even the figures would have been made public, prior to Francis and similar recent reports.

    At least the problem is now being accepted - getting adequate solutions, is the next stage (probably the harder part).

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  • I was bullied by my line manager, I went through every possible route but when the line manager was backed by her boss and worse my unison union rep was a manager working next the the boss and he wanted an easy life I was in a no win situation.
    The carer who had valid information for my case was given previliges and she kept her mouth shut, the other nurses did not want to say anything as they felt their life would be made hell and just for me, so really I did not havea hope in hell, especially when the occupational nurse put the final nail in by writing in her report that there was no case to answer.
    The bully is still in her job, it was I who had to leave for the sake of my health.

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  • Michael, I would love to be wrong, but the existence of bullying within the NHS has been acknowledged for many, many years, which is why every trust has policies on bullying and harassment, respect at work or whatever they call it. Then the people to whom one reports/complains are the group responsible, IME and that of many people I know, for the bullying and who write these cosmetic policies while failing to observe them...

    And the situation described by Anonymous above sounds very familiar.

    If this action by Bournemouth DOES lead to more action being taken against bullies, brilliant! However, the record of how existing policies aren't used does not fill me with confidence.

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  • michael stone

    Basket, I sent a rather lengthy exposition to the MPs who were looking into 'whistleblowing and bullying', and I've sent the same analysis to other people as well.

    In a nutshell, first you must separate the two types of concern:

    1) an individual is either 'bad' or incompetent;

    2) something 'systemic' - not enough staff, some ridiculous physical layout or absurd 'protocol' - is the problem.

    For 1), whoever is raising the concern, does need to be identified, because of the potential 'ad hominem' nature of that.

    But for 2), the criticism is usually of something a manager, or 'the board', has put in place - this type of complaint, should be pursued via someone who isn't working for the 'management' being criticised. Some sort of entirely independent person/group of people, who can 'see if the concern has got legs' and who are then empowered to raise the issue, with no fear that they can be 'bullied/victimised'.

    The decision-making, still rests with the management - but, both the concern, and the management's response (whether some action, or doing nothing to change things), should then be made public.

    Complaining about 'your boss, to your boss' is clearly a problem, with quite a lot of bosses.

    Making concerns public, is probably a necessary first step: and, when even bodies like the NMC seem to see it as acceptable to charge some nurses with 'bringing the profession into disrepute' just for making concerns public, there is clearly a long way to go on this one !

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