Up to one in five NHS staff may have been bullied at work over the past six month, suggests research by the Durham University.
“Workplace bullying remains a significant issue with far-reaching consequences for the healthcare workforce,” the study authors said last week in BMJ Open
Their findings are based on surveys of almost 3,000 NHS staff from seven employers in the north east of England. Of these around 630 were nurses and 300 were healthcare assistants.
Around 20% of respondents reported being bullied at least “now and then” within the past six months and 43% had witnessed other staff being bullied.
Half said the source of bullying was a supervisor and respondents noted that often the people doing the bullying were “stressed” themselves due to their workload. Workplace culture was also cited as a factor by nearly 20%.
One respondent said: “Certain departments have an ethos of being rude, unpleasant and occasionally verbally aggressive. When you have day to day contact with these people it can be exhausting and severely undermines confidence.”
Few staff reported bullying to someone in authority, ranging from around 3% for practical jokes to 14% for abuse or allegations.
Barriers to reporting bullying included concern that nothing would change and being labelled as troublemakers.
Are you able to Speak Out Safely? Sign our petition to put pressure on your trust to support an open and transparent NHS.