AN INDEPENDENT investigation into bullying within the county’s hospitals is being launched following allegations of widespread abuse of staff.
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has commissioned the inquiry along with the Trust Development Authority, but it is not yet clear if it will ask staff to come forward with concerns or examine historic allegations against staff still working within the Trust.
Currently the suggested focus is only on the way all reports of bullying within the Trust are handled and investigated.
David Flory, head of the TDA, will personally sign off the terms of reference for the investigation to ensure it is independent and the details are due to be finalised by the end of this week. An outside organisation will be sought to conduct the investigation and an action plan will be developed to address any issues uncovered.
It follows allegations of widespread bullying within the Alexandra Hospital by former A&E nurse Mandy Bridgman, reported in the Standard.
Claims included staff being reduced to tears after being shouted at in front of patients and in corridors, harassed to meet the four hour A&E waiting time target and nurses being threatened to have their
registration to work removed.
Mrs Bridgman told the Standard she doubted the inquiry would come to anything.
“Is it just a distraction from the five resignations? Do they really want to know what is going on? I just don’t believe it is going to be independent.”
On Wednesday (February 25) Mrs Bridgman was joined by other ex-staff members and members of the Betrayed by their Trust campaign group in a protest against bullying outside the Alexandra Hospital.
The group is building up a dossier documenting the serious abuse of staff, starting with five cases both within Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and Worcestershire Health and Care Trust which they say bosses have information about but have taken no action on.
Staff with concerns about bullying are being urged to visit www.bbttworcs.tumblr.com to contact the group in confidence.
Denise Harnin, interim director of workforce and organisational development for the Trust, told a board meeting on Wednesday (February 25) they took all allegations of bullying seriously.
“There is a general trend of bullying and harassment across the NHS identified in the national staff survey and it’s timely we review and check the robustness and appropriateness of our policies.”