Employment news

Review may extend “fit and proper test” in light of bullying culture in the NHS

NHS directors who don’t take adequate steps to stamp out bullying could be dismissed under revised legal guidelines. A ‘fit and proper’ test currently ensures that NHS directors have a duty of care to their patients, but the proposed extension would broaden this duty to cover the wellbeing of staff.

With one in four NHS staff experiencing bullying and more than twice as many BAME staff suffering from discrimination by their manager or colleagues, the the Health minister Stephen Barclay has commissioned a major review, designed to help tackle “toxic workplace cultures”.

News of the review comes at a time when a freedom of information request by ‘The Times’ newspaper revealed that since 2013 the NHS has disciplined more than 1,200 employees for misuse of social media, including posting derogatory comments about colleagues. Sixty-five staff members were subsequently dismissed.

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, welcomed the review saying “it is very important for NHS organisations to address and reduce bullying and create a supportive environment for staff. NHS directors have an important part to play in this endeavour” and we await the findings of this review.”