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When doctors at University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust surveyed their colleagues, after bullying concerns were raised by members of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin at the trust, they probably didn’t predict the scale of the issue they would unearth.

A summary of the survey findings, published in a newsletter sent to all doctors and seen by HSJ, showed more than two-thirds of the 348 respondents claimed to have experienced bullying, harassment or victimisation at work, with 50 per cent of respondents saying the bullying and harassment was due to race or ethnicity.

Perhaps even more concerning, 55 per cent also said they had not reported concerns as they had “no confidence in the investigative process within the organisation”.

The newsletter continued: “Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the comments was the feeling of futility that any positive outcomes could come about from this.”

The trust points out it doesn’t do particularly poorly in this area in the NHS staff survey. But UHNM medical director John Oxtoby added: “As medical director I am disappointed to see feedback of this kind from our doctors and I will take this survey as an opportunity to continue to drive further improvement. We already have a zero tolerance to bullying and investigate all allegations rigorously.”

A new partnership

As chatter about “place”, “integrated care provider” and “integrated care partnership” reaches fever pitch; Devon has bought itself one of the latter, for the whopping price tag of £1.6bn.

The ICP — which is led by University Hospitals Plymouth Trust with social enterprise Livewell Southwest acting as the main provider — has been created after several years of work on integrating services between the two organisations.

The award is hardly a surprise given Livewell Southwest is the incumbent provider for nearly all of the services, but the key difference now is the involvement of UHP.

Chiefs at the trust, which is currently facing the threat of regulatory action over problems at Derriford Hospital’s emergency department, hope the ICP will help with both financial challenges and the never-ending quest to treat more patients in the community.

Fortunately, they have a mentor in the shape of Somerset Foundation Trust, which was recently born following a coming-together of two acute and community/mental health trusts.

There are not too many ICPs of this nature around in the NHS yet so the West Devon ICP will be one to watch as the health service searches for new models of integration.