Workforce and Training

08.07.15

NHS must tackle ‘toxic’ bullying culture – Lord Prior

Health minister Lord Prior of Brampton has said the NHS must make more of an effort to tackle the ‘toxic’ culture of bullying among staff. 

Speaking at the King’s Fund’s Better Value Healthcare conference yesterday, the former chair of the CQC said that the national staff survey revealed a quarter of employees have been victimised by colleagues, a rate he said is unheard of in other organisations.

He stated that the NHS has to make more effort to tackle bullying among staff, but should not move to a “blame free” culture. 

“We are not talking about a blame free culture, but a just culture, somewhere between a blame culture and blame free culture,” he said. 

“There’s something about the culture in the NHS that needs to change….staff experience is a critical indicator of whether an organisation is performing well. 

“Too many people in the NHS have been switched off; the level of bullying in the NHS, in the NHS staff survey, is 24%. When bullying levels got to 16% in the Royal Mail, they hit the panic button.” 

Lord Prior, who was made a minister following this year’s general election, added that the health service should follow the lead of supermarkets such as Asda, which has taken steps to “take their staff seriously” and bring out the best in them. 

Lord Prior also suggested that the NHS needs to do more to integrate services and that to deliver change Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority need to be a “much more powerful organisation”. 

Last month it was announced that Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority will be working a lot closer together as the organisations move towards a single leader, who is expected to appointed by the end of the summer. 

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