RCN support under scrutiny

The letter on bullying in the workplace (OH, August) has prompted me to
write about the problems I have experienced with my employer and the Royal
College of Nursing’s approach in dealing with it.

I was wrongfully accused by my employers of harassment and bullying when, in
fact, I was the person being bullied. The RCN is a union and it is my firm
belief that a union should protect members who are paying out over £125 a year
mainly as an insurance in case they should need help.

How can occupational health nurses, or indeed any nurse, get good support? I
have researched RCN activity locally and have yet to find a nurse who can say
that the RCN has helped them.

I have written a number of times to the general secretary, the president and
to my council member reminding them of the RCN Royal Charter "to assist
nurses who, by reason of ill-health or other adversity, are in need to
assistance of any nature".

I suggest the following: good firm representation from the moment of contact
by quality independent mediators and, if necessary, legal help to prevent
nurses having to experience unnecessary misery.

There are very few nurses who deserve to lose their jobs, dignity, self
respect and good health due to unethical actions by their superiors and poor
assistance from the RCN.

I have also put forward the idea of monitoring of paid officers at a local
level by members. The activity of local stewards should also be assessed for
quality. I have suggested that we have local paid officers outside the employ
of trusts.

So far I have not had any positive response from the RCN.

Name and address withheld

Nothing but praise meant

In August you printed a letter from me welcoming some progress in the
development of occupational health services within the prison service in
England.

It has been pointed out to me that this letter could be misconstrued as a
criticism of the existing service of OH providers in the sector.

I am writing to confirm that no criticism was intended. My point was to welcome
the evidence of expansion of occupational health services to prison officers
and staff in England.

Caroline Hayles
Salus Occupational Health and Safety

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