Quarter of Medway Maritime Hospital staff 'bullied'

Image caption,
Medway Maritime Hospital is run by the NHS Foundation Trust

The number of staff at a Kent hospital trust who say they have been bullied at work by their manager or team leader have risen for a third year.

A total of 28% of staff at Medway NHS trust, who took part in the 2012 NHS national survey, said they experienced harassment, bullying or abuse.

It compares to 22% in 2011, which was an increase of 2% from 2010.

The trust said it was addressing the issues and working closely with staff to improve their working lives.

Pressure 'not helping'

"It is a pervasive cultural problem - this is not the result of one or two rogue managers," said Simon Bolton, Medway spokesman for public sector union Unison.

"The real problem is coming from pressure for cuts and to perform better and to get more from less.

"Management are under pressure as well but there is something about the culture at Medway that is not helping matters."

In 2011, former Medway NHS medical director Gulzar Mufti spoke out about a culture of bullying at the trust after an independent report backed his own bullying complaint.

Conservative MP for Gillingham and Rainham, Rehman Chishti, said he feared staff bullying could affect patient care.

Image caption,
Unison spokesman Simon Bolton said bullying was a cultural problem at Medway

"When you have people being affected by bullying they may not be thinking properly and they are more likely to make mistakes," he said.

"I am very disappointed that there have been year on year increases (in bullying) for three years.

"It clearly shows there is an endemic problem."

'Not tolerated'

The trust, which runs Medway Maritime Hospital, said that about 10% of its staff completed the 2012 survey.

"The overall results are, however, disappointing and show the trust as being below average, compared to other NHS trusts," it said in a statement.

"Our approach to bullying and harassment was revised in 2012.

"The trust has encouraged complaints of bullying to be raised and this has helped to surface these issues and take actions which have included dismissal.

"Our focus on this approach will continue, promoting a culture where bullying and harassment should not be tolerated under any circumstance."

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