Case 029 - NHS

NHS bullying in Merseyside Hospital

In 1998 myself and a colleague Mrs R both worked for the same two doctors in the same department. From day one these doctors Dr A and Dr R constantly accused us both of incompetence in our ability to do a Medical Secretarial job. I was criticised for my clinic letters / foreign doctor dictation. We were both highly competent secretaries who happened on this department one just after the other. Dr A was a notorious serial bully we discovered from the rest of his staff. He even had patients coming after him. Dr R was know by the other Consultants as having form and always up to scams. He was hated by his staff and some were fearful of him. He was using charitable funds from the hospital to buy his staff Christmas presents. Things were so bad we were both crying our eyes out with the state of the stress of the job and the workload. We were made ill by the bullying and eventually complained. I put in a grievance via Unison and found myself facing an immediate disciplinary for incompetence My colleague just went to see Mr S (HR Manager and Health and Safety Officer) in personnel and got moved. My requests to be moved were ignored and the Trust tried to ‘starve me out.’

As a result of complaining we found ourselves subject to a whispering and briefing campaign. All managers were plotting and scheming against us. Personnel plotted and schemed against us. Mr S from personnel ignored our GPs requests, Chief Exec requests and eventually managed to escape this particular Trust in December 2001 leaving our situations unresolved. He was also Health and Safety. I eventually developed a phobia and could not set foot on the grounds of the hospital through fear and stress when I tried to return off sickness the Trust would not allow me back into my job.

Unison took me and Dr A to Trust level through the three stages. Dr A and Dr R never put in an appearance at my hearing. My case got dragged out unnecessarily. When I finally got to Trust level my character was smashed and my career was rubbished. Old misdemeanours were raked up from as far back as six years from other hospitals to rubbish me by Mr S.

My colleague complained after seven months she also was made ill and went off sick for a while but returned to a completely different job she did not want to be in. Two years later we were both still fighting the Trust with every area of authority expertise we could involving everyone from the Chief Executive, occupational health doctors, solicitors, MPs, Unions there was NOTHING we or anyone else could make this Trust sort out our situation or discipline these doctors. Our card was marked from day one. There was a massive grievance by Dr R’s technicians which he got away with. Dr A got away with his bullying also. My colleague’s further career pursuit was actively blocked. I was treated like a psychiatric patient by another department to which I was located and under constant scrutiny for my work. Foreign doctor dictation was raked up again and these were just draft letters.

In retrospect in 2002 one of my Union reps had a conflict of interest, my solicitor pulled the plug on me and the Tribunal, the Chief Exec could do nothing, MPs had no impact, GPs and Occupational Health had no impact, Unison had no impact and then I discovered throughout all of the years I was being dragged through proceedings etc I was never a member of Unison in the first place. The threat of Solicitors had no impact, solicitor contact had no impact and neither did Health and Safety. We both eventually handed in our resignations and had to walk away from it. I have since discovered that whilst proceedings were being undertaken some of the management involved were moved to different departments. I now know for certain they are back - reinstated in their old departments like nothing has happened and the Trust has a new Chief Executive.

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