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Barts Health Trust

Allegations of staff bullying and race discrimination at Barts

  • 12 Comments

Staff at Barts Health Trust have been subject to bullying behaviour, race discrimination and ill treatment, according to a report commissioned by the trust.

The study of 2,000 employees by Plymouth University’s Graduate School of Management also found 23% of respondents considered themselves the subject of gossip or malicious rumours.

“Managers rarely appear to have been disciplined, even when negative behaviour was attributed to them”

Independent report

Researchers received accounts from Barts’ employees of discrimination based on religion, disability, and race – with the latter named as “the most prevalent”.

Both black minority ethnic and white staff perceived themselves as being discriminated against.

Barts commissioned the survey, which was carried out between April and June, after a report by the Care Quality Commission described “a perception of a closed culture and bullying” at the trust.

The majority of staff interviewed by the university’s academics attributed the “negative issues” they experienced to “actions or treatment from their line manager”.

There was little evidence the negative behaviour led to disciplinary action, the report added. “Managers rarely appear to have been disciplined, even when negative behaviour was attributed to them,” it said.

 

The Barts staff survey in numbers

38% – Proportion of staff who felt they were treated unfairly compared with colleagues

29% – Proportion who said they had experienced intimidating behaviour

23% – Proportion who believed they were the subject of gossip or malicious rumours

 

Researchers said reports of bullying often resulted in “counter claims” from colleagues.

“In some instances bullying was alleged following attempts to manage performance and/or conduct,” the report said. “In others, staff who made complaints of bullying were subsequently subject to complaints from colleagues and/or managerial action.”

Approximately 75-80% of staff that experienced bullying on a regular basis said it had taken place within the last three months.

Researchers found staff satisfaction varied across the different hospitals. While staff at Whipps Cross University Hospital described a “good team working environment”, employees in other hospitals said there was “greater disconnect” between staff.

“We will spend the time and continue to give the support to the change that is required to make the difference that is needed”

Trust spokeswoman

A trust spokeswoman said work had already begun to address the review’s findings, with “active participation by the senior leadership team”.

“In commissioning this external review, we knew that it would be a difficult read, but our values include listening and we welcome the clarity and depth of the findings,” she added.

“We also knew that there was no better, positive step we could take to accelerate the work we began at the start of this year to engage with our staff on the change that was needed to develop the positive culture for our staff to work in and in which our patients receive their care,” said the spokeswoman.

“We know the process of change will not come overnight, and we will spend the time and continue to give the support to the change that is required to make the difference that is needed. We will build Barts Health to become a great place to work for all our employees,” she said.

The independent report is included within the trust’s board papers for July.

 

  • 12 Comments

Readers' comments (12)

  • I think if a survey was done in every NHS trust up and down the country, the results would be pretty similar. This is endemic in the NHS, and it boils down to poor managment. It invariably starts at the top and works it's way down.

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  • Bully occurs in any hospital area where there are nurse managers who have no people skills and no managerial skills.

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  • I think it is unfair to place the entire blame on nurse managers. All of us have pressures under which we work and targets which may be unrealistic to meet.

    Nursing staff are often their own worse enemy when they show inflexibility in their working day.

    Change can also begin at the bottom.

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  • michael stone

    I sort of see, why a trust commissions a report, to 'prove' it has got 'bullying of staff' issues - but I also 'sort of think' that if a trust can't see the bullying happening, WITHOUT 'needing to commission a report', that there is no hope for any of us !

    I really hope Sir Robert, comes up with a half-way effective solution, to this !

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  • michael stone | 3-Oct-2014 2:47 pm

    not very decisive in putting forward your views of a sudden. not typical stone behaviour. are you sure you really know what you are talking about at all or do you feel as always you have to have your say regardless of its relevance.

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 3-Oct-2014 10:44 pm

    My comment highlights the complexity of 'impartial evidence gathering' and how, or if, that invariably fits in with 'common sense' - nothing to do, with a lack of 'decisiveness'.

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  • Michael Stone - just go away and comment on something you do understand. there are plenty of comics out there or something a little more adult and more appropriate to your own field of interest.

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  • The NHS is a difficult place to work in mostly because of poor managers.
    Managers need to understand that a happy working environment will benifit all.
    They also need to know how to help bring this about, and if there is staffing problems how to solve these effectively.
    Sometimes they are too tied up with stuff that is not even important but political, and if not done their managers will jump on their backs. At the end of the day the ones at the end of the food chain always gets eaten, and that is the poor nurses.

    I have tried to get into management postion but after 20 years in the NHS I am unable to, I don't fit into their specifications. I work in a place which has institutional racism.
    Of all people I am affected by this as I could never be a racist. I care for every one the same and see people only as individuals.

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  • As a nurse of 30 + years, it is my experience that numerous NHS managers have been promoted to get them out of clinical areas where they have performed poorly. Is it any surprise then, that this report has come to the conclusions that it has? Duh! I don't think so!

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 4-Oct-2014 7:19 pm

    I can only quote Anonymous | 6-Oct-2014 8:15 am in answer to your post:

    Duh! I don't think so!

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