Lincolnshire hospital staff ‘want to leave’ as NHS struggles to stop bullying

More than one in three staff working at hospitals in Lincolnshire “often think about leaving the NHS” as they report harassment, bullying and abuse by patients, colleagues and even their own managers.

The annual NHS staff survey results published on Tuesday, February 18 revealed that United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) had some of the lowest scores in the country.

Hospital staff in Lincolnshire are more likely than the rest of the country to be harassed, abused or bullied while at work, according to feedback given by staff.

Results indicated 29.8% reported harassment, abuse and bullying from patients as well as 17.5% from managers and 23.4% from colleagues.

Lincolnshire also has a higher average of NHS staff reporting physical violence from patients and their relatives at 16.6% compared to the average of 15.1%.

The survey makes PM Boris Johnson’s pledge to recruit “50,000 more nurses” – which, as it turned out, included keeping 18,500 existing nurses – look very optimistic.

On average, 28.3% of staff around the country said they “often think about leaving” and in Lincolnshire, that figure is far higher at 36.9%.

The health secretary Matt Hancock has written to all NHS staff and told them that “being assaulted or abused is not part of the job.”

It reads: “Far too often I hear stories that the people you are trying to help lash out. I’ve seen it for myself in A&Es, on night shifts, and on ambulances.

“I am horrified that any member of the public would abuse or physically assault a member of our NHS staff but it happens too often.”

New rules mean that hospitals can now refuse, in non-emergency cases, to treat people who are aggressive or discriminatory.

Just this week a Lincolnshire man was in court for allegedly attacking doctors, police and damaged equipment at the hospital in Boston.

Unison, the worker’s union, has called the results “shocking” and urged ULHT to support its staff as a matter of urgency.

Regional Unison organiser Elliot Dean said: “Senior managers must take responsiblity for these poor results and work with UNISON

“These results show staff are too overwhelmed and under-resourced to deliver the best possible patient care.

“The NHS across Lincolnshire urgently requires more staff and a fair funding formula to help repair the damage done by a decade of budget cuts.

“The recruitment challenge will only get worse if health bosses don’t listen to the concerns of staff and actively work with them to find solutions.”

ULHT Chief Executive, Andrew Morgan, said: “We have seen a record response this year to the annual NHS staff survey and would like to thank our staff for taking part. This has provided us with plenty of valuable feedback to enable us to bring about real change.

“Compared to last year, we have seen a small increase in positive responses to the majority of the questions in the survey. While we are moving in the right direction, we know we still have work to do to catch up with the national average for acute NHS trusts.

“We will now be analysing the results in detail to plan what actions we can take forward as part of our new integrated improvement plan. We will be running lots of sessions with our staff in March to discuss the improvements we need to make and how we will achieve them for the benefit of our valued staff and patients.”

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