Nottingham University Hospitals Trust to face MPs after ‘shocking’ bullying culture report

Nottingham's Queen's Medical Centre.
By Anna Whittaker, Local Democracy Reporter

MPs are calling for action at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust after a damning report found a “culture of bullying” and inadequate leadership at the organisation.

Nottingham MPs have described this week’s report, which downgraded the trust to ‘requires improvement’, as “shocking”, “deeply saddening” and “troubling”.

Trust managers are now due to meet MPs next week to explain how the organisation will improve.

The trust says it is “working hard” to make changes to make it easier for staff to raise concerns.

Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors visited the Queen’s Medical Centre and Nottingham City Hospital earlier this year and found that some reports of bullying cases at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust (NUH) were found to be “directly attributable to racial discrimination”.

Labour MP for Nottingham South Lilian Greenwood described the report as “extremely concerning”.

Ms Greenwood said: “It is shocking that inspectors uncovered evidence of bullying, race discrimination and a lack of integrity.

“It is clear that the staff in our city’s hospitals are working hard to provide high standards of care but are not always receiving the support they need from the Trust’s senior management. This is completely unacceptable.

“The findings in this report must now lead to urgent action, to ensure that my constituents can be confident that they and their families will receive safe and effective care in our hospitals. It is equally vital that hospital staff are properly supported to deliver that care.”

The leadership of the trust as a whole was heavily criticised by inspectors, who rated this specific part of the organisation ‘inadequate’. But one area, which assess how caring the organisation is to patients, was rated as ‘outstanding’.

Nadia Whittome, Labour MP for Nottingham East, said: “I am deeply sorry to hear that staff at NUH have long experienced bullying and racism in a climate of fear and intimidation and it is right that this toxic culture has finally been exposed.

“I am working closely with other Nottingham city MPs to hold the Trust to account on behalf of my constituents and ensure urgent changes are brought in without delay.”

Alex Norris, Labour MP for Nottingham North, also the Shadow Minister for Health and Social Care, said: “The findings of the report were deeply saddening and require immediate action.

“It’s clear that staff are doing their roles well but they need to be well-led in an environment that supports their wellbeing and promotes excellent care.

“As MPs, we are meeting with the hospital next week and will expect to see a clear recovery plan.”

Rushcliffe Conservative MP Ruth Edwards said she was “very disappointed”, adding: “I am particularly concerned to hear of problems with resources in the emergency department as well as serious reservations about the Trust’s leadership.

“I was also concerned to hear about the culture of bullying that the CQC have referred to as well as serious concerns about the trust’s waiting times not being in line with national standards.

“Whilst the report is troubling, I am encouraged that the CQC have set out a series of clear steps to enable the trust to improve.”

Dr Neil Pease, Chief People Officer and Board Member at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust said: “No-one in our organisation should experience bullying or discrimination of any sort and that is something we are committed to ending.

“Our BME Network and BME Shared Governance Council have together created a Trust-wide strategy which is supported by the Board and has led to three newly funded posts to drive and deliver on improving the representation and experience of BME colleagues.”

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