PERFORMANCE:Staff at Barts Health Trust have been subject to bullying behaviour, race discrimination and ill treatment, according to a report commissioned by the trust.

The study of 2,000 employees by Plymouth University’s Graduate School of Management also found 23 per cent of respondents considered themselves the subject of gossip or malicious rumours.

Researchers received accounts from Barts’ employees of discrimination based on religion, disability, and race - with the latter named as “the most prevalent”.

Both black minority ethnic and white staff perceived themselves as being discriminated against.

Barts commissioned the survey, which was carried out between April and June, after a report by the Care Quality Commission described “a perception of a closed culture and bullying” at the trust.

The majority of staff interviewed by the university’s academics attributed the “negative issues” they experienced to “actions or treatment from their line manager”.

There was little evidence the negative behaviour led to disciplinary action, the report added.

“Managers rarely appear to have been disciplined, even when negative behaviour was attributed to them,” it said.

Researchers said reports of bullying often resulted in “counter claims” from colleagues.

“In some instances bullying was alleged following attempts to manage performance and/or conduct,” the report said.

“In others, staff who made complaints of bullying were subsequently subject to complaints from colleagues and/or managerial action.”

Approximately 75-80 per cent of staff that experienced bullying on a regular basis said it had taken place within the last three months.

Researchers found staff satisfaction varied across the different hospitals.

While staff at Whipps Cross University Hospital described a “good team working environment”, employees in other hospitals said there was “greater disconnect” between staff.

A trust spokeswoman said work had already begun to address the review’s findings, with “active participation by the senior leadership team”.

“In commissioning this external review, we knew that it would be a difficult read, but our values include listening and we welcome the clarity and depth of the findings,” she added.

“We also knew that there was no better, positive step we could take to accelerate the work we began at the start of this year to engage with our staff on the change that was needed to develop the positive culture for our staff to work in and in which our patients receive their care.

“We know the process of change will not come overnight, and we will spend the time and continue to give the support to the change that is required to make the difference that is needed. We will build Barts Health to become a great place to work for all our employees.”

The Barts staff survey in numbers

38 per cent - Proportion of staff who felt they were treated unfairly compared with colleagues

29 per cent - Proportion who said they had experienced intimidating behaviour

23 per cent - Proportion who believed they were the subject of gossip or malicious rumours