Royal Cornwall Hospital staff 'threatened' for speaking up

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Royal Cornwall Hospital
Image caption,
Staff at the Royal Cornwall Hospital have reported a "culture of fear" that prevents people raising concerns

A hospital worker resigned after being "shouted at and threatened by their manager" for speaking up about patient safety, a report has found.

The National Guardian's Office (NGO) review into speaking up investigated concerns raised at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT).

Another worker resigned after nothing was done to address "prolonged bullying and harassment by senior colleagues".

The Trust said it aimed to have a "fully open and supportive culture".

Other findings in the review were that staff who raised concerns were treated detrimentally as a result of doing so.

One worker who spoke up about patient safety said they were "bullied by their senior colleagues as well as their manager who verbally assaulted them".

"The worker perceived that disciplinary proceedings were then brought about them based on false allegations, which led to their dismissal," the report found.

In total the NGO spoke to 34 workers about their concerns at the Trust in one-to-one interviews or in staff forums.

Lack of independence

The NGO was set up after the Francis review into the scandal at Stafford Hospital, where years of abuse and neglect led to the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of patients.

It carries out case reviews where it receives evidence a trust has not adequately supported workers who have spoken up.

On several occasions, staff at RCHT who reported concerns found the person charged with investigating their complaints was not suitably independent.

In one case a colleague whom a worker alleged had neglected patients subsequently investigated their own conduct, the report said.

It acknowledged that leaders at RCHT understood the need to improve the speaking up culture and "were beginning to take steps to do this".

Dr Mairi Mclean, chairwoman for RCHT, said: "Over recent months we have seen more staff coming forward to raise concerns, using our new network of champions and other routes, and this is a positive sign we are starting to get things right."

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