Bullying continues to cause serious problems within the NHS. This was demonstrated by a recent Guardian survey which found that 81 per cent of the 1,500 doctors, nurses and health workers surveyed had experienced bullying at work.
Sadly, 44 per cent of those reported that the bullying was on-going in the hospital or primary care and community service in which they work.
The survey was self-selecting, which means that those who suffer bullying in the workplace are perhaps more likely to take it. However, it doesn’t diminish the point that bullying plainly remains a big problem in the health service. An NHS staff survey in 2015 previously found that a quarter of staff in NHS trusts experienced bullying, harassment or abuse within the previous year.
Our own research, conducted amongst the general population in 2015, found that almost six in 10 people had witnessed or experienced bullying in the workplace.
Bullying can have an immense effect on your life and wellbeing and often impacts personal and family life as well as your work life. That is why it is important to stand up and take action. Anyone experiencing bullying should ideally confront the bullying by directly telling the individual concerned that what they are doing is unacceptable. Obviously this can be easier said than done and an alternative course of action is to speak to HR or your line manager.
A shocking three quarters of respondents to the Guardian survey thought that the health service did not take bullying seriously. If you find your employer not taking bullying seriously after confronting the bullying directly or through HR or a line manager, there are other options available. You can make a formal complaint by raising a grievance or you can take legal action.
For more information on bullying and how to raise a grievance you can check out our legal advice guide: Taking Legal Action About Bullying or Harassment at Work
If you do choose to take legal action against your workplace bully it is worth talking to an employment lawyer. They will be able to advise you on the best course of action available to you.
The employment solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers can work with you to find a solution to your problem. If you are being bullied or harassed at work you can contact us any time of day or night. Feel free to call us on freephone 0800 916 9060 or contact us online and we will call you back at a time that is convenient to you.
Harriet Bowtell is a senior employment lawyer at Slater and Gordon. She is based in our central London office.