One in five NHS Nottingham hospital staff say they have been bullied by colleague, survey says

More than one in five staff members at Nottingham’s hospitals have been bullied or abused by a colleague, according to a recent NHS survey. The findings show 22.5 per cent of staff were either bullied, harassed or abused by a fellow worker at Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) in the past 12 months.

The results from the survey taken from September to November also show that a third of staff at NUH, which runs Queen’s Medical Centre and City Hospital, ‘often’ think about quitting their job, in line with the national average.

However the findings are above average in terms of bullying, with 19.5 per cent of NHS staff in England experiencing the behaviour. A total of 14 per cent of staff also said they had experienced it from managers at NUH.

Read more: Nottingham maternity staff’s concerns ‘dismissed for years’, says union

UNISON, a union which represents more than 3,000 of the trust’s staff, said the survey was “merely the tip of the iceberg”. The findings follow a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection of NUH last year that uprooted a ‘culture of bullying’ in its leadership, including examples of racial discrimination.

Dave Ratchford, regional officer for UNISON, said there were still bullying and discrimination cases without resolution “despite our repeated attempts to engage meaningfully on these issues”. He added that NUH were holding the union at “arm’s length”.

Chris Birks, a spokesperson for the union, said: “I have been in and the conversations I’ve had with some of our NUH members, there are countless reasons why the survey results make for troubling reading. Staff have spoken about how they have been racially discriminated, bullied out of particular departments, allowed to be left clinically vulnerable, and forced out of jobs they love.

“You can see why our members, and the wider staff, have answered the survey in the way that they have. Also, those examples are merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to NUH.”

In response to the CQC report NUH launched the ‘Big Conversation’ online scheme to allow staff to offer their input into how the trust could improve. The trust said it was working to address current and historical concerns, and regularly reviews cases to make sure they are progressing as quickly as possible.

Dr Neil Pease, Chief People Officer at NUH said: “The impact of the pandemic continues to be felt across the NHS but we are continuing to work with our 17,000 staff to hear their ideas on how we can take immediate action to improve. We are committed to making all our staff proud and happy to work and deliver care at NUH.”

The NHS Staff Survey showed many parallels between staff at NUH and the national average. Just 23 per cent of workers thought there were enough staff to ‘do my job properly’ at the organisation and 65 per cent would be happy with the standard of care for a relative or friend having treatment at NUH.

Mr Ratchford added: “The government’s continued under-funding of the NHS is putting intolerable pressure on the workforce. We cannot discount the serious impact of yet another prospective below-inflation pay increase. Some of our members are already using foodbanks.

“Faced with rising energy and grocery bills outside of work and continued severe staff shortages inside of work, is it any wonder staff are looking elsewhere?”