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College claims cuts bred bullying

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Shortages of staff and resources have bred a culture of bullying at a South London hospital, the RCN has claimed.

Newham University Hospital NHS Trust, which last year made savings of £20m in a turnaround plan, suspended seven nurses from its neonatal unit on the grounds of alleged bullying in November.

In a statement the trust said that it was taking the allegations very seriously. But it added: ‘Suspension of staff is a neutral act and does not imply guilt.’

The trust has reported the suspensions as a Serious Untoward Incident to the London Strategic Health Authority in accordance with new SUI guidance.

The RCN claims the alleged bullying has been a problem for years at the trust and is mainly the result of frustration caused by shortages of staff and resources.

Salim Humayun, RCN representative at the trust, said: ‘This has been going on for a few years. Management had been informed but did not respond appropriately so things just built up.

‘Cases of bullying and harassment are on the increase because of the shortages of staff and because of the pressure from management.’

A trust spokesperson said: ‘In November the trust started a campaign to raise awareness of bullying in the workplace.

‘As anticipated, this has resulted in a slight increase in the number of issues being raised by staff,’ she added.

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