This month’s letters

Bullies at work

I read with interest your article Bullies at work (April 2002) and how
occupational health nurses have a pivotal role to play in tackling workplace
bullying. What happens when it is the OH adviser who is the person being

This has happened to me over a long period. I did not recognise it as
bullying at first but after some intervention from the personnel department it
seemed to get better for a short time after an apology was given. However, it
now continues in a very subtle way.

I have found it increasingly difficult to go to work. I know it is thought
that the victim is a weak person, but one becomes weak through constant ‘put
downs’. There is no eye contact when trying to communicate or have a discussion
about a client’s health, or at meetings. There is a general lack of support.

It is very easy to lose confidence in one’s ability to make decisions, and
retaining status is certainly difficult.

All the buzz words and policies, ie Improving working lives (Investors in
People) sound great and the hospital where I work is up there with the best of
them, but nothing is put into practice.

Name and address supplied

Further criticism of the RCN

Having had a letter published by you in October 2000 (RCN support under
scrutiny) I feel I must make a further comment on managing harassment and
bullying in the workplace, especially in the NHS, and the poor assistance given
by a particular union.

The nursing organisation/ union, the Royal College of Nursing, has issued
publications on how to tackle the problem of bullying. Also they apparently
train their staff and stewards to give seminars to members.

Yet at the last branch meeting in Worthing we were informed that a regional
director has been suspended from duty with harassment and bullying being

And according to the Saturday editions of The Times and the Daily Telegraph
on 15 June, apparently another five staff have also been suspended from duty.
Confidentiality does not seem to feature anywhere.

Surely, as a union, the Royal College of Nursing should know how to manage
its own office? If not, then how on earth can it try to overcome poor
management in the NHS and the enormous problems nurses face?

Name and address supplied

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