The perfect example of what is wrong with UK public services

A shiny new hospital can’t hide a rotten core.

The report

Why, when Dr Kumar, a junior doctor took her own life, clearly stating that the hospital’s culture was to blame, did the coroner not criticise the hospital?

The fact that there was no senior representation at Dr. Kumar’s funeral was poor though the hospital did stream the ceremony live! The fact that the hospital has still not met her family to answer their questions is disgusting. Why are they not investigating how she was being treated – there are likely to have been witnesses. Are other members of staff still on the receiving end of the same treatment? Dr. Kumar’s father was also a doctor – so an informed party who could help ensure others are not on the end of the ‘hypercritical, belittling’ treatment his daughter endured. Will he be consulted?

The first thing all high-profile employers need to understand is that they are a magnet for abusive personalities. High-profile employers provide abusive personalities with what they crave: status and opportunities to abuse. So as well as vetting applicants, interview panels need members who can profile the kinds of people the employer does not want to employ! Someone who can spot discrepancies – someone who can spot evasion and will hone in on areas an applicant is trying to avoid.

Is the ‘perfect’ applicant perfect or a talented actor? The more perfect a candidate appears to be, the more rigorous the vetting and interview. No one spotted that Fred Goodwin wasn’t as highly qualified as he should have been, and once he’d charmed his way inside RBS, no one could control his megalomania, which eventually brought down the Royal Bank of Scotland. Abusive personalities are often talented at appearing to be just what the employer wants.

Employers, in order to protect their organisations from damage and scandal, need to:

Keep their employment policies up to date. By the time I left in 2016, the BBC had a very professional HR department that preempted changes in employed law by having an updated, negotiated policy ready to go. Whereas when I was diagnosed with MS in 1995; HR hadn’t got a clue what disability discrimination was; I was told by HR when I asked about training to change my career to a more office-based role, “You don’t want to be made a special case of now do you, Jane.”

Upskill their workers to identify the first signs of toxicity: bullying, harassment, discrimination, cliques, and exclusion.

Need to empower their workers to identify unacceptable behaviours and bad practices and be able to call them out, reporting them if necessary.

Need explicitly to welcome genuine whistleblowers – these protect the organisation. Those on the receiving end of unacceptable behaviour, particularly whistleblowers, should not be ‘encouraged’ to leave. That’s like dumping the latest research on your organisation’s culture and practices in the bin.

On a government level, those at the top of trusts or other public services need to be held accountable so that if there are scandals on their watch, they need to be dismissed – not paid off but sacked. 

Health ministers should consult Peter Duffy FRCS MD MBE Consultant Surgeon and writer of two of the most in-depth books about NHS cover-ups, “Whistle in the Wind” and “Smoke and Mirrors.” 

Coroners should always look at the workplace culture as a possible factor in a suicide – they do in France. 

The government needs to make bullying in the workplace actionable in law regardless of protected characteristics. Most bullying cases I have represented were not bullied on the grounds of a protected characteristic. Still, union representatives have to try to find a protect characteristic in order to make their cases legally actionable.

#ProtectYrOrg #e. #patientsafety #nhs #nhsuhb @nhsuhb

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