News

The bullying stops here: hospital reveals plan to end abusive workplace culture

Emergency department nurses blew the whistle on distressing behaviour
Forth Valley Royal Hospital, where ED staff said they felt bullied

Emergency department nurses blew the whistle on unfair and distressing behaviour – and have been promised improvements

Nurses at an emergency department (ED) where staff complained of bullying and unfair treatment will now receive protected learning time as part of an improvement plan.

The measures will be introduced after an independent review uncovered serious problems in the ED at Forth Valley Royal Hospital near Falkirk in central Scotland.

Equality of learning opportunity for nurses

Nurses there will now be guaranteed two hours a week, or one day a month, of protected learning time to ensure they have similar learning opportunities as students, trainees, and medical staff.

‘Some people get away with murder, others

Emergency department nurses blew the whistle on unfair and distressing behaviour – and have been promised improvements

Forth Valley Royal Hospital, where ED staff said they felt bullied
Forth Valley Royal Hospital Picture: Alamy

Nurses at an emergency department (ED) where staff complained of bullying and unfair treatment will now receive protected learning time as part of an improvement plan.

The measures will be introduced after an independent review uncovered serious problems in the ED at Forth Valley Royal Hospital near Falkirk in central Scotland.

Equality of learning opportunity for nurses

Nurses there will now be guaranteed two hours a week, or one day a month, of protected learning time to ensure they have similar learning opportunities as students, trainees, and medical staff.

‘Some people get away with murder, others would get their faces torn off’

Nurse quoted in review report

Other planned improvements include freeing up experienced nurses from administrative duties so they can mentor junior nursing staff.

NHS Forth Valley says it will recruit a senior clinical nurse manager and that ED nurse staffing will be reviewed in collaboration with staff.


How ED staff blew the whistle on the nursing culture

Concerns about culture in the emergency department – particularly in relation to nursing – were first raised by the RCN and Unison in November 2020.

In response, the health board commissioned an external review that would make 45 recommendations. The reviewers’ report, submitted in June this year, featured upsetting accounts from nursing staff who felt they were unable to raise concerns.

One is quoted as saying they had left the department in tears multiple times and had no chance to speak up.

Another said: ‘Don’t upset the hierarchy… some people get away with murder, others would get their faces torn off.’

‘I am committed to ensuring all the issues raised are addressed’

Cathie Cowan, chief executive, NHS Forth Valley


Rebuilding trust and working relationships

The health board accepted all 45 review recommendations and used them – along with staff suggestions – to form its improvement plan.

NHS Forth Valley chief executive Cathie Cowan, a former director of nursing in the NHS, admitted the report was ‘distressing’, but said she is confident the issues can be resolved.

‘Issues staff highlighted in relation to staffing, training and support can be addressed quite quickly.

‘Others such as rebuilding trust, building relationships and improving teamwork will take longer. However, I am committed to ensuring these are all addressed,’ she said.

Unison and the RCN said they would work with the health board to ensure the improvement plan is implemented.


In other news

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

Save over 50% on your first three months:

  • Customisable clinical dashboard featuring 200+ topics
  • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals including Nursing Standard
  • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
  • NMC-compliant RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs