Trust welcomes chance to address stress issues

The head of HR at an NHS trust, ordered to improve the way it deals with
stress by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), has welcomed the intervention.

Robert Pascall, HR director at West Dorset Hospitals NHS Trust, believes the
HSE will help it to continue to improve its working environment for all

It is the first time the HSE has started enforcement proceedings against a
large employer over the issue of stress, and follows a complaint by a former
member of staff over alleged bullying and a long-hours culture.

The HSE issued an improvement notice under the Health and Safety at Work
Act, giving the trust until 15 December to put in place measures to identify –
and where necessary address – employee stress, or face potentially unlimited

The trust is to use the HSE’s draft stress management standards to address
concerns raised by the complaint.

It will carry out a risk assessment, including establishing a staff survey
to identify how staff feel about their jobs and working environment.

Pascall said: "We need to establish the extent to which employees
perceive there is a problem and, if there is, the factors that cause it and any
patterns of concern. If there are concerns about these issues [bullying or long
hours], we will deal with them.

He added: "It is only by going through this process that we will be
able to identify and address any problems. If [for example] there is a need for
better training for managers, we will look at that."

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