Talk Health and Care

Voluntary sector bullying

No, not done it well, but when they have done it badly. I am an experienced worker in the field, with 30 years experience and have experienced some excellent management and support in both statutory and voluntary sector employers. I was recently subject of bullying in the form of persistent untruths being told about me by my line manager that constantly undermined my relationships with colleagues in the organisation, and possibly wider, who knows. I eventually took my concern to the Chief Executive stating I no longer trusted my line manager. After 'looking in to my concern', though not speaking to any of the people that had been lied to about me, I was told my position was untenable, and dismissed. I should have seen it coming when they dismissed then reinstated a colleague because her 'boyfriend' was potentially involved in a crime against a service user before she'd met him, and when they tried to dismiss a colleague because she was suffering mental ill health: I should have recognised the pattern of dealing with unwelcome news.

I did not have full employment rights, I was in a temporary post, and had not been in post for two years; I had no recourse to their action, no 'unfair dismissal' for me, dismissed for what I saw as whistleblowing on poor management practice. This is the reality for many workers in the sector, working in time limited projects, reliant on organisations finding funding or commissions for services, working from one short term contract to the next. The current financial situation for local authorities sees more and more services up for tender, tenders being given for increasingly shorter terms; commissioned or funded services can't offer job security for their workers, but they should be able to deliver good employment rights for their staff. I think the move toward external agencies delivering services funded by local authorities with external funding supporting those agencies, delivers efficiencies for the authorities, often at the expense of workers employment rights and conditions by pushing them into positions where existing employment law is not applicable to them.

When a sub group of practitioners that are unsafe in their employment develops, their capacity to recognise, report and respond to bad practice is diminished. I don't want a workforce that are too afraid to speak up, quite the opposite, I want a workforce that has the confidence to dictate best practice and stand for nothing less.

What would you like to happen to help you work without fear of bullying, discrimination or violence?

I think if authorities were serious about delivering the best for service users regardless of the status of agencies delivering services, they would give employment rights and improved conditions to those delivering the services regardless of the length of time in that particular role.
Whistle blowing, particularly in health and care settings, should be, and needs to be, safe for workers to do; so that they can stand up and bring poor practice to the attention; but if the existing situation remains then an increasing number of practitioners are not safe in highlighting poor practice, will shy away from whistleblowing and be forced to stand by whilst poor practice continues afraid to act because of their employment status.

edited on Nov 5, 2018 by Isabel DHSC

Morganth 9 months ago

I agree with your comments wholeheartedly, however, this can happen to a full time, permanent member of staff. It happened to me. I was bullied by my line manager for over 5 years, and no-one would help me. When finally there was an inquest, the director who was managing it, was awful, nasty towards me, and rather than deal with the situation, moved me to another job in another building away from the manager. He tried to make out it was all my fault, that I had been the instigator of the problems, and that I needed to be removed. I finally snapped, was on sick for a while and ended up leaving that Trust, leaving my friends and starting again somewhere else. I since found out that the manager stayed until she retired last month, and the director actually retired in Jan this year with a huge pension, and has now started his own business. I am struggling to gain a foothold in a new Trust, with new rules and new problems. Bullying goes on all the time and there is no-one to stop it.

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LeonhartUK 9 months ago

I made a report to my director of nursing and HR apparently did an investigation - I know I was questioned until I ended up crying and I'm a 30+ y/o men. When trying to follow up I find out that the person investigating left the Trust and received a dismissal of my claim only because person in question said it's fake news -or something like that. I know that no one was asked or interviewed about raised issues. Staff was asked to terminate any contact with me and got a ban from working in the ward.

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Norm Cooper 9 months ago

Sorry to hear your experiences.
you'd think the NHS would have whistleblowing covered by now given the amount of times they've publicly got it so wrong.

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LeonhartUK 9 months ago

I kept my mouth shut until I decided to change position and they made it impossible. One good thing that happened from that incident that was covered up is that we now have an office that issues a reference without a fault, bypassing nasty and maleficent managers.

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Chris 9 months ago

Most people working know what happens to staff who advocate for themselves. Same as happens to ‘whistleblowers ‘, hounded and your life made hell.

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Morganth 7 months ago

You are right, so right. Maybe it is time to change the general culture of the NHS. Make it a nicer place to work

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