Eastern Eye (UK)

Trust faces bullying queries

- (Local Democracy Reporting Service)

LEADERS at a trust that runs the Queen’s Medical Centre and City Hospital will face questions from councillor­s on how it is tackling bullying and racism within the organisati­on, writes Anna Whittaker.

Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) Trust is rated as requiring improvemen­t by healthcare watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Concerns over the leadership of the organisati­on were so serious the Trust was served with a warning notice after a 2021 inspection, requiring them to make widespread changes.

A number of allegation­s of bullying were found to be “directly attributab­le to racial discrimina­tion”, and some staff were “too frightened” to speak up.

NUH has been invited to a Nottingham City council meeting this week to discuss how it tackles issues of racism in the workforce. The issues will be discussed at the authority’s health scrutiny committee on Thursday (16).

A report by NUH prepared ahead of the meeting says it has “heard examples of direct and indirect racism, colleagues feeling excluded or ignored, micro-aggression­s and examples of using pressures as an excuse for bullying”.

Some staff also reported “bullying [was] becoming the norm” and “there is a lack of trust in the processes to achieve resolution”.

The Trust’s chief executive, and those in roles which NUH call the chair of the BAME Network and the chair of the BAME Shared Governance Council, will be at the meeting.

The chief executive, Anthony May, joined NUH in September 2022 and set out a commitment to tackling bullying and racism within the Trust.

NUH’s report to the meeting explains how it has listened to staff concerns through the ‘Big Conversati­on’ survey, forums and stakeholde­r events.

The Trust has also employed three fulltime ‘freedom to speak up guardians’ who support staff to raise issues when they feel they are unable to do so by other routes.

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