Employment news

CQC says more work required to turn round NHS Trust’s “toxic environment”

A Care Quality Commission (CQC)  report has found that concerns remain over University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) NHS Foundation Trust, after the Trust had previously been revealed as having a “toxic environment”. The report says  that “staff did not always feel respected, supported and valued”, that  “staffing remained a significant concern” and  not all staff had received mandatory and safeguarding training, including training that is legally required.

The working environment had initially come under scrutiny following the death of Dr Vaish Kumar, a junior doctor at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, who took her own life in June 2022. Kumar had blamed the hospital for her death in a note left to her parents, in which she said the working environment “just broke me”.

In December 2022, an investigation by BBC Newsnight then found that the Trust had a climate of fear among its staff. Following this report an independent investigation was launched, with the review report on safety and governance, published in March 2023, saying the investigation had heard “repeated reports of a long-standing bullying and toxic environment”.  A culture review later found that more than half of staff who responded said they had felt bullied or harassed, while nearly a third did not feel safe at work.

In a response to the latest report by the CQC, the Trust said that it fully acknowledges that it does not always get things right and there are areas for  improvement. It went on to express confidence that it had  begun to take focussed and positive action.