The head of the London Ambulance Service has spoken of her shock as she apologised to more than 200 staff who said they had been bullied at work.
Dr Fionna Moore said she was “really upset” to learn that two-thirds the 327 staff who responded to a confidential inquiry said they had been targeted by managers or colleagues.
The investigation was set up after LAS staff last year gave the organisation the lowest approval ratings in the NHS. The findings come after a London paramedic, Guy Tanner, was struck off after sending “revenge porn” messages to a woman colleague.
The report revealed a “blame culture” in LAS with managers too focused on targets rather than patient care or employee wellbeing. It said staff shortages had placed additional pressures on those at work, and said “bullies are perceived to have been rewarded with promotion”.
Dr Moore, who became interim chief executive in January, told the Standard: “I was really upset to read it, and felt deep regret at the contents of the report.
“It’s 200 people out of a workforce of 4,000, but very clearly a significant number will have been subjected to behaviour we would not wish to be part of this organisation.”
Because staff who participated in the inquiry did so anonymously, it did not gather evidence identifying the bullies. Dr Moore said she was now drawing a “line in the sand” and vowed to clamp down decisively on any new allegations.
Two-thirds of participants said they had experienced verbal abuse. Some 18 per cent said they had suffered cyber bullying, while five per cent said they had been punched or pushed.
Staff were said to abuse the sick-pay system and complained of “target-driven” and “big brother” cultures where people were afraid to speak out. Many said that complaints were not taken seriously. An independent advice line is being set up.
Dr Moore said: “We are really sorry. There are clearly a number of people who feel this behaviour has been quite inappropriate from their point of view. We are trying to make the LAS a great place to work.”
Tanner, who was based at Deptford ambulance station, used his work email to send explicit images and movie clips of the woman to colleagues and newspapers in an attempt to force her to resign. The Health and Care Professions Council last month found him guilty of serious misconduct.