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Third of nurses ‘feel bullied’ over patient care practices


A third of nurses in a survey said they had been bullied to behave in ways that run counter to patient care over the last two years.

In addition, almost half of the healthcare workers surveyed said they were concerned their organisation could follow in the footsteps of Mid Staffordshire Foundation trust.

The YouGov survey of 1,021 healthcare workers – predominantly nurses – was commissioned by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the Healthcare People Management Association (HPMA).

It found that 43% of respondents were worried that examples of poor patient care, such as those highlighted in the Stafford Hospital scandal, could occur where they work.

In addition, 33% of nurses and 27% of doctors and surgeons in the survey reported being put under excessive pressure or bullied to behave in ways that are counter to patient care within the last two years.

Large number of healthcare workers also admitted to a lack of confidence in their organisation, its integrity and its leadership.

They highlighted the biggest barriers to changing culture in the NHS and improving patient care as quality of guidance from the very top and a lack of assurance among staff that whistleblowers will be protected.

Commenting on the findings, CIPD chief executive Peter Cheese claims smarter use of information on frontline NHS employees could help prevent more scandals over poor patient care by highlighting early warning signs before problems escalate to crisis point.

“NHS leaders should ensure they are putting more emphasis on monitoring, analysing and, crucially, acting on people management information and feedback from staff, which can provide early warning indicators for potential culture, capability and capacity problems linked to poor standards of care,” he said.

“Information from patients about their experience is of course crucial but good quality management information can flag problems further upstream before patient care has been fatally undermined.”

The report by Robert Francis QC into poor patient care provided at Mid Staffordshire Foundation trust called for the creation “of a common culture shared by all putting the patient first”.

Based on the findings of the survey, however, it looks as though there is a long way to go before this is achieved.


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Readers' comments (4)

  • michael stone

    What NHS leaders need to do, is to make sure that staff who have got the guts to raise concerns are listened to and not bullied, and to make sure that relatives and patients who raise issues are also listened to.

    'it looks as though there is a long way to go before this is achieved.'

    Yes, my feeling as well !!! At least NT is trying to help, with its campaign.

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  • The trouble is to many trusts pay lip service to whistleblowing /protecting staff / listening etc.. Our Trust makes a big song and dance about it but in reality they have actually put procedures in place to STOP staff being able to report concerns! You are only allowed to speak to your immediate superior, and no one is allowed to go above that person or they risk disciplinary action.

    Our supposed whistle blowing policy is much more of a gagging policy.

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  • Anonymous | 13-Sep-2013 10:05 am

    so the 'a cat can look at the queen' social rules do not apply?

    I wouldn't last long in your place as I tend to speak to ever I wish and if there is a problem I prefer to discuss it first with the person directly concerned and most often it need not go any further.

    As renowned books of management advise, if ever you feel intimidated by your boss, or anyone else just imagine them in the nude and they are little different from anyone else although I must say, there are some, whatever their level I would prefer not to have to imagine in this way. it is a good strategy though and I don't consider myself or anybody else too small to speak to ever they wish.

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 13-Sep-2013 10:05 am

    'You are only allowed to speak to your immediate superior, and no one is allowed to go above that person or they risk disciplinary action.'

    That is, as you say, a policy designed to prevent the raising of concerns: it is strange, that when goverment ministers shout 'the NHS needs to be more open and transparent', for some reason if you say 'So we can listen to your ministerial discussions, then, can we, in the interests of transparency ?', they say 'No - we are a special case'.

    Everyone is keen on others having this 'openness and transparency principle' applied to others, but it seems not so much to themselves.

    Lip service and media fluff, spring to mind.

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