Devon NHS trust commended for progress on bullying

The Healthcare Commission has commended Devon Partnership NHS Trust on the efforts it has made to tackle allegations of bullying and harassment and improve staff morale and working relationships at the trust.

The review was conducted to determine whether staff were suffering from bullying and harassment and what actions were required to improve the situation for staff.

This was due to recognition by the trust that staff morale was low and some employees had experienced or were currently experiencing bullying and harassment.

The review identified significant weaknesses in HR policies and procedures and the lack of a formal structure for dealing with complaints made by staff.

It found that reports of bullying and harassment had reduced significantly from 2003 – from nearly one-third of staff in 2003 to around 10% in 2005.

Actions taken include:

  • developing a policy on acceptable behaviour which has been agreed in principle

  • the introduction of a hotline for staff to raise issues directly with the chief executive

  • establishing a senior staff forum to bring together senior clinicians and managers to influence decision making on the trust’s objectives

  • restructuring the HR department and appointing a director of workforce and organisational development.

Marcia Fry, head of operational development at the Healthcare Commission said: “We are impressed with the progress Devon Partnership NHS Trust has made in tackling the issues raised in this review. Staff are an organisation’s most important asset and it is fundamental that they are treated with respect.

“We are pleased to see that the chief executive is leading the way and implementing this ethos throughout the organisation,” she said.

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