Concerns have been raised that East of England Ambulance Service Staff (EEAST) are being “silenced” over bullying allegations, according to an article that has been published by the BBC.
In 2018, hundreds of EEAST staff reported being bullied. Between now and 2016, a total of 28 non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) have issued to staff.
The GMB union said that the figures show a “heavy-handed culture” in the Ambulance Trust.
The service has previously issued a statement asserting that it takes allegations of harassment and bullying “extremely seriously” and that it had various policies in place to deter such behaviour.
An ‘independent investigation’, headed by former Met Police HR Boss, Martin Tiplady, was initiated by the trust to investigate claims of bullying within the organisation.
The results of the investigation were reported to senior management within the trust in January 2020.
The 28 NDAs had been made in cases where bullying, harassment or abuse by colleagues had been reported, according to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
The NDAs involved an arrangement, often accompanied by a payment, which prevented the individuals concerned from talking about their cases.
In the latest staff survey from 2018, 23% of staff reported bullying, up from 21% in the previous year.
The GMB said NDAs were seen as a “method of silencing rather than resolving” and called on the trust to discuss more meaningful ways of dealing with problems.
Gavin Davies, the union’s NHS senior organiser, told the BBC (East):
“We would hope an emergency service provider that prides itself on saving lives would have a better mechanism for resolving difficulties rather than using NDAs.
“Policies and procedures are in place to give organisations and staff clear guidelines on how to work through whatever issues may arise.”
EEAST chief executive Dorothy Hosein told the BBC:
“Bullying and harassment is never acceptable. We take all allegations of harassment and bullying extremely seriously.
“We have policies and training in place to create a culture where this behaviour does not happen.
“We are committed to providing optimal wellbeing and welfare support, which is continuously reviewed and improved.”
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