Blackpool Victoria Hospital nurse calls out 'toxic' bullying which left staff 'physically shaking' with fear
A Blackpool Vic nurse has blown the whistle on what she described as a culture of bullying at the hospital, as around 20 members of staff have complained about being systematically singled out and humiliated by management.
Three members of staff from the same nursing team were removed from their positions and posted elsewhere within the hospital after complaining about the alleged abuse in June last year.
Complaints from the group include being singled out and humiliated in front of peers, being bombarded by phonecalls outside of working hours, and being threatened with dismissal on a regular basis.
One nurse was allegedly denied time off to see her dying relative, while another was denied the leave she had accrued while taking time off for medical reasons.
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Nurses who were diagnosed with Covid-19 were allegedly expected to work from home instead of taking time to recover. One nurse who suffered a broken leg was ordered to carry on working as she was still able to write.
The anonymous whistleblower said: "I have seen people physically shaking because they are so scared. We have all had to have counselling from the occupational health department, it's that bad. There were about 10 of us off at one time with work-related stress and depression. I was hounded to come back in with endless phonecalls.
"I have been sat at a desk, crying my eyes out.
"Some of us have had horrendous text messages sent to us.
"There was never a day when someone wasn't crying.
"We were threatened with termination. If you went to a meeting and you were asked to say ten things and you only said eight, you'd be told things like 'you need to seriously think about your position'.
"If we were ill with Covid-19 we'd still be expected to work. We couldn't be in bed. We received texts saying we were expected to work from home."
An investigation into the allegations is currently ongoing at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. A spokesman for the Trust said: “The Trust would never comment on any ongoing investigation involving staff, patients or their families to ensure its integrity remains intact and that everyone is treated fairly and openly until a conclusion can be reached.”
Purported bullying victims are currently being supported by the Royal College of Nursing, Unison, and Unite the Union.
Estephanie Dunn, regional director for the Royal College of Nursing in the North West said: “We are in communication with the trust who have already commenced work to understand the issues that emerged within a service. They are awaiting the outcome of an investigation. There is a commitment from the trust to act upon the findings and recommendations.
“We want to assure the individuals who raised concerns that the RCN will be monitoring this to ensure that where needed, change is implemented and embedded.”
A Unison spokesman said: "As a union we take allegations of bullying very seriously and we encourage all members to contact their local rep for support if they have experienced bullying at work. But we are unable to comment on the specifics of individual cases as these are confidential issues, especially if investigations are ongoing."
A Unite the Union spokesman similarly said the trade union was unable to comment while the investigation was underway.
The whistleblower said: "It's a toxic, absolutely toxic environment. HR have completely let all the staff down. We have been completely unsupported by them. Their bullying and harassment policy isn't worth the paper it's written on."
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