Shockingly high numbers of NHS staff being bullied
One in seven members say they were bullied last year
ONE in seven members of staff at University Hospitals of Leicester said they were bullied by managers last year.
A two-year study by the BMA released today has revealed that bullying and harassment is common in NHS workplaces and that many doctors and ther staff say their personal and working lives are seriously affected by it.
Figures from the NHS Staff Survey 2017 reveal 13.6% of staff at University Hospitals Of Leicester NHS Trust had been victims of bullying, harassment or abuse from managers last year. This is the highest proportion reporting problems with management in the three years the question has been asked in its current form in the survey.
Some 1% said they had been bullied by managers on between six and 10 occasions, and 0.9% said it had happened more than 10 times.
As well as bullying from managers, one in five members of staff (19.5%) at University Hospitals of Leicester said they had been victims of bullying, harassment or abuse from other colleagues.
A total of 1.2% said it had happened to them on six to 10 occasions, and 1.3% said it had happened more than 10 times.
According to the BMA report, doctors who have been bullied said it has destroyed their confidence and affected them personally, and in some instances caused serious and lasting harm to their lives and careers.
Even those who simply witness such behaviour say they are more likely to take time off sick or want to change jobs.
It’s not just bullying from managers and colleagues that is a problem at University Hospitals of Leicester, more than a quarter of staff (26.1%) said they had been bullied, harassed or abused by patients, their relatives or other members of the public last year.
Some 4% said they had been victims of abuse from this group on six or more occasions last year.
However, half of staff (51.4%) who experienced bullying, harassment or abuse last year said neither they nor a colleague had reported the last incident they had suffered.
The BMA’s study found that bullying in the workplace was not just an issue about individual relationships, it was often a reflection of pressures in the system, poor working environments, top-down ‘command and control’ leadership, and a culture that accepted such behaviour as the norm.
The report showed 39% of UK doctors said they believed there was a problem with bullying, undermining or harassment in their main place of work.
As well as as this, two-thirds (65%) felt pressure of work was the main reason for bullying taking place, and more than half (58%) felt it was difficult to challenge as behaviour comes from the top.
Dr Anthea Mowat, BMA bullying and harassment project sponsor, said: “Bullying in medicine can bring to mind images of a junior doctor being shouted at by a senior, or a surgeon angrily throwing instruments across the room.
“But the experiences we have heard through the BMA’s bullying and harassment project show it can affect all kinds of doctor and medical student. We know that other staff in the NHS are affected too – one in four according to the NHS staff surveys.
“As well as damaging staff, bullying also impacts on patients and the consequences for patient care and safety are serious. In workplaces where bullying is common, communication and teamwork suffer, and staff are afraid to raise legitimate concerns about patient care or safety.
“The BMA report not only looks at the problems but also offers some real solutions to bring an end to a culture that has existed for far too long.”
Across acute hospital trusts in England, 13.4% of staff said they had been bullied, harassed or abused by managers last year.
Some 0.9% said they had experienced bullying on six to 10 occasions, and 1% said it had happened more than 10 times.
A fifth of staff (19%) said they had experienced bullying, harassment or abuse from other colleagues, with 1% saying it had happened on between six and 10 occasions, and 1.3% saying it had happened more than 10 times.
Bullying, harassment and abuse from patients, their relatives or other members of the public is also common - 27.8% of staff reported experiencing it last year.
One in 20 members of staff (4.9%) said they had been bullied or harassed by this group on six or more occasions last year.
Among staff who had been abused, nearly half (47.6%) said neither they nor a colleague had reported the last incident they had experienced.