Saturday 13 July 2024
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NUH staff to consider strike action over ‘ongoing bullying’ after request to move departments

Nottingham Hospitals staff are moving closer toward strike action over claims of bullying at City Hospital.

Around 40 members of staff who work at Nottingham University Hospitals Urology Department have been asked if they wish to be balloted for industrial action by Unison over ‘management failure to consult’ and ‘ongoing bullying’.

Staff say they were asked last year to move from urology at City Hospital to gynaecology at Queen’s Medical Centre – a move which they say would “uproot” their lives and mean they would have to “maintain expertise in two separate disciplines”.

There are claims that since then staff have been “shouted at” and concerns “ignored”.

A member of staff who did not wish to be named said: “This has been a horrible year for us. I don’t come into work to be shouted at. The work is hard enough.

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“We’re all also very concerned about keeping patients safe with working in a different area and also some of us leaving because of this.  For our opinions to be completely ignored after years of building up experience is shameful really.”

It comes after the trust received a damning CQC (Care Quality Commission) report which outlined bullying cases “directly attributable to racial discrimination” and inadequate leadership at the organisation.

•  UNISON Consult members over Strike Action Ballot at NUH

In a  recent report to the NUH board, Rupert Egginton, Deputy Chief Executive wrote that leaders of the trust have “reflected deeply on the findings” and are “completely committed to leading differently and more effectively”.

He said a number of feedback sessions with staff have taken place encouraging “open conversation” about the issues they have faced.

Now, Unison is balloting staff to see if they want to take industrial action.

Jamie Godber, Nottingham University Hospitals Branch Secretary said: “The position is unacceptable.

“Our members were told last year they were going to have to move from urology to gynaecology theatres randomly to plug gaps temporarily.

“When they raised concerns, they were shouted at.  We raised a grievance and it was all shelved.

“Now it’s come back as a permanent move and they’re not being asked, they’re being told.  Gynaecology is different to urology and our members say it’s unfair to expect them to build and maintain expertise in two separate disciplines.  Moreover, many of them chose to work at City Hospital for child and elder care reasons and will have difficulties being uprooted to go to QMC.”

Dave Ratchford, Regional Officer added: “The union say that they are backing the members 100%. This is a lose-lose situation that the Trust management have created. The Care Quality Commission speaks about ‘some leaders lacking integrity’ and ‘a culture of bullying’ and that forms too many of our members’ day to day experiences.

“Skilled urology staff are being deployed in gynaecology when the Trust should be creating an actual specific gynaecology team.  Senior managers coming in and shouting at staff won’t make that better. In fact, seven members of the Recovery Team have already left creating potentially dangerous shortfalls and stress on those remaining. Unison will take whatever action these members see fit.”

Dr Neil Pease, Chief People Officer at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We are working with our colleagues to listen to their concerns.

“We have met with them on several occasions, most recently today where there has been positive dialogue, and we are working together to agree next steps and hopefully achieve a solution that is in the best interests of our staff and patients.”

Unison’s consultation closes on 3 November.

If more than 50% of affected staff say yes to strike action, they will proceed to a legal industrial action ballot.

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