East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust commended by health watchdog for improved response to bullying and harassment

East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust has been commended by the health watchdog for its efforts to tackle bullying and harassment at the trust.

In January 2006, a report by the Healthcare Commission called on the trust to promote a culture of zero tolerance to bullying after finding several management failings.

The commission’s investigation was launched after staff and a local GP raised concerns about perceived levels of bullying at the organisation. It found a lack of action by senior managers in dealing with these perceptions.

Problems between staff took a long time to resolve, there was inconsistent advice to staff from the HR department and employees felt discouraged from submitting formal grievances, the report said.

Monica Green, the trust’s HR director, told Personnel Today at the time that she fully accepted the commission’s findings.

Improvements have since been made in several areas:

  • a staff charter has been launched
  • a handbook about dignity at work has been produced, backed up by training sessions
  • a plan developed by the HR team aims to improve appraisals and monitor performance
  • action has been taken to improve the capability of the HR team and provide leadership development for senior managers.

Sampana Banga, head of region at the Healthcare Commission, said: “We are impressed with the progress the trust has made in tackling the issues raised in this investigation.”

The trust welcomed the report and said it had made “significant progress” since the original investigation.

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