The NHS is struggling to fund anti-bullying training for staff and managers despite evidence of widespread problems, a charity is claiming.

Lyn Witheridge, chief executive of workplace bullying charity the Andrea Adams Trust, said bullying was so endemic in the NHS it had become an “almost insurmountable” problem.

But she said NHS organisations working with the charity were increasingly having to abandon anti-bullying strategies because funds had dried up.

She said: “Trusts realise they have a problem and many have worked with us to train their advisers, but at the end of the day it’s hard when they haven’t got the funds available to continue the work.”

The charity’s helpline gets 70 calls a day from people claiming to be victims of bullying in the workplace - and at least half of these are from NHS staff.

Nearly half of callers are taking out formal grievances.

Her comments follow former Healthcare Commission chairman Sir Ian Kennedy’s warning about levels of bullying and HSJ’s detailed analysis of the issue.

A DH spokesman said: “NHS employers are expected to have policies and procedures in place to tackle bullying in the workplace. It is for local trusts to determine how to achieve this.”

He said all NHS organisations should have a bullying and harassment policy that is easily accessible to staff and which is monitored regularly.

Strategies could include support services such as counselling, trained staff acting as support workers, a bullying and harassment hotline, external agencies providing support, and mediation.

NHS Employers is also building on its recent campaign to help trusts tackle bullying at work, working with trade unions to understand why some trusts perform better than others and to share good practice.

Read Charlotte Santry’s blog on bullying at