A Freedom to Speak Up report presented to the board of Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust found there had been an increase in bullying and reports of staff members being “humiliated” during the last three months.
The report, which covers the first two quarters of 2021-22, highlighted a “lack of compassion, kindness, and understanding” between colleagues and noted “increasing levels of frustration” that people are not being held to account for “unprofessional” poor behaviours.
The report added the findings were not surprising due to the pressures of the pandemic experienced by staff.
It found: “There appears to be an increase in the proportion of concerns around interpersonal behaviours and communication issues as well as levels of frustration and tension amongst staff and managers.”
In addition, staff had raised concerns that there was a lack of “genuine engagement”, which resulted in changes being made with “little or no staff or clinical output”. They had also expressed confusion due to “ineffective management” and added there was a lack of clarity over accountability.
The report also stated staff were all at “different stages of processing the impact of what they have seen and dealt with through covid”, including their families, friends, and those who have lost loved ones.
Buckinghamshire Healthcare’s report comes as the number of concerns raised to Freedom to Speak Up Guardians across England increased by 26 per cent in 2020-21 compared to the previous year, according to the National Guardian’s Office’s latest annual report.
Four Freedom to Speak Up Guardians have been introduced at Buckinghamshire Healthcare since May to raise awareness of the role and encourage more people to raise concerns.
Neil Macdonald, chief executive officer of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We are committed to creating a culture that enables staff to speak up freely and have invested in our freedom to Speak Up Guardian’s team.
“Results from last year’s NHS staff survey showed our staff felt safe to speak up about anything that concerns them in this organisation and they felt confident that their organisation would address their concerns, and we are taking action to do so.”