NHS Employers launches anti-bullying campaign

NHS Employers has launched a new campaign aimed at raising awareness of and tackling bullying in the NHS.

The body responsible for pay and workforce conditions in the NHS is sending out campaign packs to every NHS trust in England. Staff will be given information to help them recognise the signs of bullying in others as well as themselves, and given advice on what action they should take to deal with it.

Bullying in the NHS remains a stubborn problem. In the Healthcare Commission’s 2005 staff survey, 15% of NHS employees said they had been bullied or harassed by other staff – a fall of just 1% from 2004. A landmark legal judgment earlier this year also ruled that employers can now be held legally responsible for bullying by their employees.

Julian Topping, head of workplace health at NHS Employers, said: “We have already been working with trusts to identify bullying behaviour and to prevent it with clear, zero-tolerance bullying and harassment statements and frameworks for dealing with incidents among their staff.”

The launch coincides with the publication of a joint report on bullying by NHS Employers and information firm Consult Gee. It gives the results of a survey of HR managers carried out at the HR in the NHS conference in April.

The survey found that 85% of respondents said bullying was an issue to some degree in their trust, with one in 10 saying it was a “serious and widespread problem”. However, 95% said their organisation had a formal bullying policy in place.

“The survey shows that many trusts are already taking bullying seriously,” Topping said. “However, it is essential that they all now start taking a much more proactive approach.”

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