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Trust supports anti bullying week

Press release 8 November 2010

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust (SECAmb) shows its commitment to staff welfare by supporting anti-bullying week.

The Trust’s bullying and harassment advisors will be raising awareness of their services to staff during the week-long campaign which starts on Monday, 15 November.

Bullying and Harassment advisors have been trained to support staff who feel that they may be the target of bullying or harassment. Their role is to listen and talk through the problem with the person, explain the Trust’s procedure, discuss the options, and provide ongoing support. The advisors are also there to offer help and support to those accused of bullying or harassment.

The Trust, which has 13 advisors, will be issuing campaign material to all stations along with fact sheets offering helpful tips in recognising signs of bullying and harassment and how to deal with them.

SECAmb’s Health and Wellbeing Advisor, Steve Hulks said: “The Trust has taken a proactive approach to this issue and has a robust policy in place to ensure that such matters are dealt with appropriately and sensitively.

“The advisors offer staff and managers support and guidance through the policy. Often people are unsure whether they are being bullied or harassed.  It can be quite subtle; it can be intimidation over a period time, exclusion from meetings, persistent criticism either publicly or privately.

“We are keen to develop a culture of openness and understanding, so staff can feel valued and supported regardless of the issue.”


Clinical Team Leader, Lee Page, based at Herne Bay ambulance station, has been in the service for eight years and a bullying and harassment advisor for four years.

“I decided to become an advisor because I thought it would be useful skill to have and could be used equally in helping patients.

To be honest I’ve only dealt with a couple of cases but believe we could be used more.

Often people, who are being harassed or bullied, feel isolated and the act of just talking to someone about the matter can really help.

We are not there to resolve the problem, we are simply there to give them the options that are open to them and support them through the process.

However, for many simply talking to the person is enough to resolve the matter.  Often people are not aware that their behaviour is having a negative impact on someone else.” 

Technician, Tamsin Harwood, based at Battle ambulance station, has been in the service for five years and a bullying and harassment advisor for two years.

“I felt it was a really worthwhile thing to do.  It was clear to me that people didn’t and often still don’t know where to go.  They are vulnerable and just want to talk through their concerns without fear.  They need someone to acknowledge what is happening to them. 

We are really there to guide them but also to assist managers who can also need support in understanding the Trust policy and how they should support their staff through the process.

I think that it is a positive thing that the Trust has advisors, it shows that the Trust is taking the matter and staff welfare seriously.

In the time I’ve been advisor I’ve supported three people and each case I’ve been a point of contact to provide information on the policy and unpack it for them. 

Often people need to feel reassured that what they are feeling is OK and that something can be done to resolve it.

No one deserves to be treated in a way that it is unacceptable to them - that is the key. Bullying or harassment is a very personal thing.  It can mean different things to different people but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be treated with the same level of seriousness.”

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