Bullying increase at ambulance service, union claims

AMBULANCE staff have reported an increase in bullying by managers, a union has claimed.

The GMB union said it would now survey all its members employed by the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS) as a result of the claims.

“This is in response to an increase in the number of reports of bullying by managers of GMB members,” a spokesman for the union said. “GMB is hoping the survey will ascertain the exact cause of the increase and pinpoint how the incidences of bullying can be stopped.”

The EEAS responded by saying it had a “zero tolerance approach to bullying” but admitted that its own staff survey records showed nearly one in five ambulance staff members had highlighted internal bullying, harassment and abuse.

The figures were revealed in the NHS national staff survey, which was completed by 49 per cent of the service’s 4,000 employees.

“Our staff are our greatest asset and we have a zero tolerance approach to bullying,” an EEAS spokesman said.

“We have clear, robust processes in place to ensure staff can raise any allegations safely and trust that they will be thoroughly investigated.”

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The spokesman added that the organisation had not been made aware of the GMB’s allegations.

It urged the union to “raise them through the correct channels so they can be properly investigated for the benefit of all our employees”.

GMB organiser Tony Hughes said his union’s survey was sent to members on the day Andrew Morgan joined the organisation as its interim chief executive.

He replaces Hayden Newton, who announced his retirement following anger over cuts and rota changes and after GMB members wrote to express no confidence in him.

“With this survey, GMB hopes to discover the scope of any problems and will then share the results with Andrew Morgan in the hope that he will engage with GMB to deal with any adverse finding,” Mr Hughes said.

“GMB very much hope that the new chief executive will put the emphasis on the ‘Service’ part of the title of the Trust.

“GMB members who work for the Trust are looking forward to their initial meeting with their new interim boss and hope that together service can be built into the best ambulance service in the UK.”

However UNISON is the ambulance service’s recognised official union, the EEAS says, not the GMB.

Earlier this year the ambulance service launched a Respect and Dignity campaign to promote to members of staff.