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Health sector leaders aim to tackle workplace bullying

Leaders in the health sector are determined to address the problem of workplace bullying in the wake of internal surveys.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have jointly announced that they will tackle issue of undermining and bullying behaviour, while the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said it was learning lessons and had a 'zero-tolerance attitude towards bullying and harassment'.

Surveys by the RCM found that 43% of trainee and qualified midwives said that they had experienced bullying and harassment from a colleague. An NHS report revealed that midwives experienced harassment or abuse from managers. Bullying has also been cited as a major reason why many midwives leave the profession.

In response to the findings the two colleges announced a joint action plan to develop and implement a strategy, including a toolkit to help the organisations deal with unacceptable behaviours.

The CQC commissioned an independent report following the results of internal surveys that revealed evidence of workplace bullying and harassment. The report found that more than 90 per cent of 236 staff interviewed felt they had been subjected to bullying or harassment at work. It suggested that the problem was 'systemic', with a breakdown of communication between line managers and staff. It found staff were reluctant to discuss problems at an early stage, nor use formal procedures for redress.

The chief executive of the CQC recognised that the organisation needed 'to build and maintain good relationships, which are based on trust'.

Acas has a wealth of resources to help you and your organisation overcome problems associated with bullying in the workplace. In addition to the Advice leaflet - Bullying and harassment at work: a guide for managers and employers, and the Advice leaflet - Bullying and harassment at work: Guidance for employees, you can get free, impartial advice from the Acas Helpline on 0300 123 1100.

Acas also offers practical training on how to deal with Bullying and harassment, and to handle inappropriate behaviour in the workplace. Other courses are available aimed at developing Skills for supervisors and to defuse workplace Stress.

Visit the Acas Training and Business Solutions page for more information.

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