The boss of United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust has told councillors that reports of bullying by staff are “not acceptable”.
Chief executive Andrew Morgan was speaking to Lincolnshire County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee following a CQC report on the county’s facilities released in February.
The report showed widespread improvements to services and leadership, and while it was still rated the trust as “requires improvement”, three of the four services that were examined improved their rating to good.
Mr Morgan told councillors he was proud of improvements across several areas of the trust, concluding: “[ULHT] is now a very different organisation to the one I inherited in the summer of 2019 and it’s going to continue in that direction.”
The CQC report, however, mentioned that its inspectors suggested “small number of staff did not feel supported, respected and valued by their immediate line managers and that they had or were experiencing bullying and harassment”.
Grantham Councillor Ray Wooten asked: “Why should we, as councillors, receive complaints of bullying at your hospitals when they should be speaking to their line managers? Obviously, it’s so serious to those complaining to us they don’t feel as though their complaints are going to be addressed.”
Mr Morgan acknowledged there had been “some instances of bullying” and that staff surveys had shown this.
“It’s not acceptable. We have made that really clear to people. We’ve tried to put in as many mechanisms as we can to enable people to safely and with confidence raise those concerns in the right way.”
“We do want people to feel that if bullying happens, they can raise it.”
“We will continue to do everything we can to create a compassionate workplace, to create compassionate leaders and to operate in a way that both looks after the patients and recognises we can only do that through our people.
“Those sorts of behaviours […] will not be tolerated in this organisation.”
Elsewhere, Mr Morgan praised work to increase the attractiveness of the hospitals to new staff coming on board.
He said the recent CQC report had improved morale and the trust was focusing on promoting the positives of coming to live and work in Lincolnshire to prospective employees, including more mentioning of good schools and facilities.
He said more staff were also being enticed by improved facilities being offered by the hospitals including robotic surgery.
“We now have some really, really great candidates for a range of posts,” he said.