Number of reports of bullying being investigated at Nottingham’s hospitals

City Hospital (original picture by David Hallam-Jones cc-by-sa-2.0) and Queen's Medical Centre (original picture by Harry Mitchell cc-by-sa-3.0)
By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter

Nottingham University Hospitals Trust has revealed the number of bullying complaints it has been handling following a damning inspection report into the way it is being run.

The trust, which runs Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre and City Hospital, was given a ‘requires improvement’ rating last year.

Health watchdog, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), said there was “a culture of bullying” at the trust as well as inadequate leadership.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service asked for the number of  bullying cases being investigated by the trust.

In 2020/21, there were 11 formal cases logged and 13 in 2021/22.

The trust said it only started a formal casework tracker in late 2019, therefore data can only be provided for these years.

The general theme is “complaints from staff about line manager behaviour towards them”.

All cases are investigated with outcomes ranging from no case to answer, to informal action being taken, or formal action being taken.

Some of the 2021/22 cases are ongoing with no outcome yet known.

Dr Neil Pease, HR director at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We cannot stress enough how much effort we are putting into tackling bullying, harassment and racism in our organisation.

“These behaviours are not acceptable, and we are putting firm measures in place to make it easier for people to raise these concerns, and quickly resolve them for all parties involved.

“We recognise we have a way to go to build trust with our staff, but we are committed to addressing poor behaviours in the workplace and fostering a culture where all colleagues feel valued and treat one another with respect.”

The trust is launching a ‘Big Conversation’ survey shortly and says it will be asking staff to help deliver clear actions the trust can take to improve its culture and create safe spaces to raise concerns and eliminate bullying, harassment, and racism.

It added it has also taken measures to enable staff to speak up about issues of concern, including bullying, through both informal and formal means and in anonymous form, including a direct email address to the executive team at the trust.

Speaking at a health scrutiny council meeting on Thursday, January 13, acting chief executive Rupert Egginton said: “The board in no way supports bullying in the organisation.

“Personally, we have been into the theatres where we have heard about an example of bullying of staff. One of the features, during the pandemic, is we have had to ask our staff to do all sorts of things – roles that are not their core role to meet the needs of patients.

“The opportunity for people to feel like they are being pushed around by management instruction is greater and that is something we are very alert to and trying to describe to our organisation.

“That we do have to respond to the pandemic, but we have to manage our teams sympathetically and effectively and don’t create those impressions.”

The trust is hoping significant improvements will be made by January 28 and that re-inspection by the CQC will take place in June 2022.

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