South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb)
has today (4 August) published a large-scale independent report to
help it better understand and help tackle bullying and harassment
issues at the Trust.

The independent report, which was commissioned
by SECAmb itself, and produced by Professor Duncan Lewis from
Plymouth University, follows concerns raised in the Trust’s staff
survey and last year’s CQC report.

Some 2,000 staff participated in the research with more than 40%
of those who responded reporting some experience of bullying in the
last 12 months.

Publishing the report in full is the first step in the Trust
tackling its findings. The Trust wants to make it very clear that
the behaviours identified in the report are unacceptable and HR
action is being taken against individuals where necessary.

We will be inviting staff to join a number of focus groups,
supported by the Chief Executive and other directors, in the coming
weeks. Having identified the issues, we now need staff to help us
define the solutions, as we build our action plan to fully address

SECAmb Chief Executive Daren Mochrie said: “I would like to
thank Professor Lewis for his expertise in writing this report,
although I am truly disappointed and upset that so many of our
staff have experienced bullying and disrespectful behaviour in the

“In the time since my appointment in April this year, it has
been very clear to me that SECAmb is full of extremely dedicated
and professional people who are concerned about caring for their
patients as well as each other. However, I was also aware that the
Trust is facing a number of challenges and areas where vital
improvements need to be made.

“One such area was high reported levels of bullying and
harassment evidenced by our staff survey and from last year’s CQC
inspection. We chose to commission this independent report to help
us address this worrying issue. The behaviours it describes are
completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated, in any sense and
at any level, moving forward.

SECAmb Chairman Richard Foster said: “I and the whole Board take
the findings of the report extremely seriously. It is now important
that we work closely with staff to build a very different
workplace, where all staff will be supported and where poor
behaviours will not be tolerated.”