NHS must address culture of bullying

The union Amicus has repeatedly surveyed members in the NHS in response to persistent complaints of bullying in the workplace (Personnel Today, 27 September). We found very disturbing evidence of workplace bullying highlighted by our community nurse members.

Following the findings of the Healthcare Commission that 10% of staff had been bullied and harassed, Amicus called for every strategic health authority to identify a senior manager with designated responsibility to lead and co-ordinate action to tackle this problem.

It will take guts and influence to challenge the hierarchical structure at the root of the NHS culture that makes bullying behaviour the norm. Leadership buy-in from strategic health authorities is a key to driving forward this work.

Amicus has invited employers to join our Dignity at Work Partnership Project, funded jointly by Amicus and the Department of Trade & Industry. The project’s Action Pack is currently being piloted by employers and will be fully rolled out this month.

An aim of the project is to encourage employee representatives and employers to build cultures in which respect for individuals is regarded as an essential part of the conduct of all those who work in the organisation.

Employers interested in the Dignity at Work Partnership should e-mail mandy.telford@amicustheunion.org.

Gail Cartmail
Head of health, Amicus

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