'Toxic bullying' investigated at East of England ambulance trust

Ambulance Image copyright PA

An investigation has been launched into allegations of "toxic bullying" at an ambulance trust.

The East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS) has been under scrutiny after it emerged three members of staff died in 11 days.

Whistleblowers have claimed bullying and increased pressure at work are causing debilitating mental health issues for some staff.

The trust said it took all allegations seriously.

One whistleblower told the BBC working at the trust was like "hell on earth" at times.

While working for the trust for 18 months, he says he saw colleagues in tears daily because of "toxic bullying" and increasing work demands.

"It was destructive, demeaning and completely out of character for what the NHS expects of its employees," he said.

The man, who has worked in the NHS for over 30 years, said at times the trust was "almost unbearable" as a workplace.

Image copyright Luke Wright''s family
Image caption Luke Wright was one of three members of the EEAS who died in an 11-day period

The BBC has learned the trust commissioned an independent investigation into allegations of bullying, which is being led by Martin Tiplady, a former human resources director at the Metropolitan Police.

A paramedic who is currently on sick leave told the BBC shifts had become "relentless" and said her mental health, and that of others, had been affected.

She said: "The trust knows there's discontent but it is governed by performance targets."

The paramedic, who has been diagnosed with PTSD, said there was little support from the trust and that she had contemplated taking her own life.

A spokesperson for the trust told the BBC it "takes all allegations of harassment and bullying extremely seriously".

The trust confirmed it had commissioned an investigation into claims of bullying.

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