Staff caring for end-of-life coronavirus patients at Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham have been subjected to ‘horrendous’ bullying, intimidation, harassment, discrimination and victimisation.
The union are raising a collective grievance on behalf of more than 20 employees at the Trust who were reassigned to look after the Covid-19 patients at the Queen’s Medical Centre in the city, which is the UK’s second-largest teaching hospital.
The staff volunteered to work on the hospital’s only ward dealing with dying coronavirus patients say they were not given any training or support with how to deal with dying patients, who often could not be comforted by their relatives. They were then subjected to a campaign of bullying when they raised concerns.
One member of staff, who did not want to be identified, said:
“We were caring for people as they died, using our own phones to Facetime their families, bagging their bodies and then dealing with their relatives. It was incredibly stressful.
“Normally, the palliative care team who deal with end-of-life patients handle 200 deaths each year – we dealt with 185 in just 19 weeks. People doing that job normally receive high levels of training and support because of the stress. We had none of that.”
Another member said:
“In fact, when we raised concerns, we started being bullied by the managers. There was a sickness board with everyone’s individual illnesses on display in the break room to intimidate you into coming in, however ill you were.
“If you went sick, you were taken into a meeting and your sickness record was discussed, going back up to 16 years.”
Other staff have spoken of being shouted at openly in the ward in front of others and were denied access to vital personal protective equipment, which was kept locked in an office.
UNISON East Midlands regional officer Dave Ratchford said:
“We’re talking about a very high-performing team who fell foul of a culture that permits bullying and fails to address it.
“This is completely unacceptable, and UNISON is raising a formal grievance to address their concerns immediately. Some staff have worked here for 20 years and are now off sick with stress.
“Staff were told their lives would be made hell for complaining. No one should be bullied at work and least of all those who put their families on hold and their lives on the line for the rest of us.
“There’s a catalogue of intolerable behaviour being reported by staff and the trust must resolve this speedily.”
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