A quarter of NHS staff in Scotland claim they have been bullied


NEARLY a quarter of NHS staff in Scotland claim they have been subject to bullying in the workplace.

New figures, released under Freedom of Information, reveal that thousands of health staff, including nurses and doctors, report cases of intimidation and harassment every year.

22.5% of NHS workers who took part in a confidential health board survey said they had been subjected to bullying.

Nurses believe that staff shortages have meant increased stress levels at work
Nearly a quarter of NHS staff in Scotland claim they have been bullied

The internal staff surveys, which were completed by health boards across the country between 2010 -2012, shows claims of bullying are highest at psychiatric hospital Carstairs.

At Carstairs 79% of its 700 workers completed a survey in the past two years, with 36% reporting feeling bullied.

The Scottish Ambulance Service also found that 36% of those who took part in a 2010 staff survey admitted they had been intimidated of threatened by other workers.

NHS Lothian – which found itself at the centre of senior management bullying claims last year – refused to answer the FOI.

Labour’s Health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie, said: “These results are really worrying.

“They show that too many of our valued NHS staff feel threatened and bullied at work. It simply isn’t acceptable.

“We need our nurses and doctors to be focussed. They should be able to do their work without fear.

“With fewer nurses and beds, greater demands and fewer resources, the pressure on our NHS staff will only increase. And when that happens, the likelihood of bullying is going to increase too.”

The internal staff surveys had varying participation rates of between15% and 79%.

It is feared the near 7,000 workers who reported bullying are just the tip of the iceberg, with many more being too scared to speak out.

An independent study of NHS Lothian last year said interviews with staff depicted an organisation where being bullied was common at certain levels.

It said the management styles described by staff, and a number of alleged incidents highlighted during interviews and focus groups, could be described as “creating an undermining, intimidating, demeaning, threatening and hostile working environment for some staff”.

In response to the allegations the SNP have started a trial of a confidential national whistle blower hotline.


A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “It’s vital NHS workers feel safe enough to raise concerns. That’s why we are piloting a confidential alert line for staff.”

A spokesman from Scottish Ambulance Service added: “All staff should be treated with dignity and respect.

“After the 2010 survey a joint action plan was developed with staff representatives to address areas of concern identified in the survey.

“Any allegations of bullying or inappropriate behaviour are treated seriously and thoroughly investigated.”