Report published on Whipps Cross Hospital reveals staff feel bullied and fear reprisal for raising concerns

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Whipps bosses vow to address bullying Whipps bosses vow to address bullying

Whipps Cross bosses have vowed to act to tackle bullying at the hospital and make it easier for staff to report concerns about patient safety.

A report published by the Care Quality Commission yesterday revealed that many staff across Barts Trust hospitals, including Whipps Cross, feared for their jobs if they reported concerns, including about patient safety.

Barts Health NHS Trust medical director, Dr Steve Ryan, told the Guardian that bullying at the Leytonstone hospital is a serious issue that will be addressed.

“We don’t tolerate bullying. It’s a serious issue because it’s going to stop staff telling us what their concerns are and we need to know that as it will make the place as safe as it can be,” Dr Ryan said.

In conjunction with a zero-tolerance policy on bullying, new avenues to anonymously report problems will be introduced and a “national patient champion” will come to the hospital to support staff who raise concerns, he added.

The executive team will also aim to be more visible in the hospital, particularly at weekends.

The Barts Health board say they do not know why the claims have emerged, he said.

“We need to understand what it is and why it is that people feel that, because it’s clearly inhibiting them if they feel they can’t raise a concern.”

He said the board wished to pay testament to all Whipps staff after the CQC reported that they were compassionate, caring, committed and providing safe care.

This followed a damning report last year which found serious problems across the hospital, particularly in elderly and maternity care.

The borough’s health service watchdog, Healthwatch Waltham Forest, welcomed the improvements but manager Jaime Walsh said a “culture of engagement” between staff, patients and visitors was needed.

Anwar Khan, chair of Waltham Forest Clinical Commissioning Group and local GP said: “We are pleased with the progress made by the trust in bringing services together and addressing issues previously identified by CQC in earlier reports. While we will support Barts Health to make further improvements, we will hold them to account if we do not see the change that is needed.”

Councillor Ahsan Khan, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We’ve had concerns for some time around the performance of Barts Health Trust and while this report shows that they are making steps in the right direction, the trust still has more work to do.”

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