Watchdog criticises ‘bully culture’

The management of a Scottish NHS trust has been accused of bullying tactics
and creating a blame culture by an independent health watchdog.

The report by the Scottish Health Advisory Service (SHAS), called Services
for Mental Health in Lanarkshire, also criticised the HR department of a
Lanarkshire Primary Care NHSTrust for failing to adequately handle complaints.

The SHAS says, "We are very worried about the management culture
experienced by some people in the Lanarkshire services."

The report says the HR department has experienced a number of personnel
changes and that this, coupled with poor funding for the trust (the second
lowest in Scotland), has "radically reduced the HR service to the Mental
Health and Learning Disabilities Directorate during the past year".

Some investigations into staff conduct were occurring without the staff
member being informed, claims the report.

It concludes, "This approach to managing complaints and the way in
which people are choosing to raise matters of concern might be contributing to
the under-reporting of problems and staff at all levels responding defensively
when problems are raised.

"There were hints of a long-standing, deep malaise and a subculture
where clearly un-acceptable practice has been tolerated."

The HR director of Lanarkshire Primary Care NHS Trust was unavailable for
comment.

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