News archive 2008
King’s study aims to cut bullying amongst NHS staff11 Dec 2008, PR 264/08
A study carried out by researchers at King’s College London and King’s College Hospital Trust is aiming to help reduce bullying and harassment of NHS staff.
Researchers at the NIHR King’s Patient Safety and Service Quality Research Centre are investigating the causes and repercussions of staff bullying at NHS Trusts in order to design innovative procedures to minimise future incidents.
As victims of bullying suffer from high levels of stress and job dissatisfaction, NIHR King’s Patient Safety and Service Quality Research Centre (NIHR King’s PSSQ) researchers believe that this is likely to have a direct impact on the quality of patient service. They studied the NHS national staff survey, comparing results for King’s, an acute hospital Trust, and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM), a mental health Trust.
Results suggest that bullying is at its most damaging when perpetrated by managers. Staff at King’s who had been bullied only by their managers reported a significantly higher intention to leave than those who had not been bullied, and this was not the case for staff bullied by colleagues alone. Those bullied by both managers and colleagues showed considerably lower levels of job satisfaction than those bullied only by colleagues.
Similarly, staff at SLaM bullied by their managers only reported significantly lower levels of job satisfaction and higher levels of intention to leave than those bullied just by their colleagues. 94% of staff at King’s (and 89% at SLaM) who had been bullied by both managers and colleagues reported suffering the effects of work stress, compared to 26% (32% at SLaM) of those who reported no bullying.
David Guest, Professor in Organisational Psychology and Human Resources Management at King’s College London, presented the findings at the annual NHS employers’ conference. He comments; ‘Victims of bullying and harassment are more likely to display higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression, lower job satisfaction and increased sickness absence, all of which can have a detrimental effect on quality of service provided to patients.’
‘It is essential to reduce bullying levels to ensure the highest possible quality of patient treatment. This study will lead to the creation of a Trust-wide policy that will raise awareness of the problem, cut the number of incidents and set up a reporting system so victims don’t suffer in silence.’
Mike Griffin, Director of Human Resources at King’s College Hospital Trust adds; ‘Bullying and harassment can include everything from setting unachievable work targets to direct verbal abuse. There are many causes – stress, poor team working or inadequate management training.
‘The number of staff reporting bullying and harassment in London teaching hospitals, including King’s, is above average for acute trusts in England, and we want to significantly reduce this level. The current NIHR King’s PSSQ research will be instrumental in helping us to achieve that.’
The team will now interview a range of patient facing and non–patient facing staff at King’s, before designing and implementing a system to reduce bullying levels. A member of staff from King’s will be recruited to help introduce this, and a review will be carried out after six months to evaluate its impact.
Notes to editors
NIHR King’s Patient Safety and Service Quality Research Centre
The NIHR King’s PSSQ is a joint initiative between King’s College London and King’s College Hospital Trust (King’s).
The Centre is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The Centre brings together NHS professionals with academic experts from a wide range of backgrounds, including management and the social sciences, to focus on investigating ways to improve the care of patients.
The National Institute for Health Research
The National Institute for Health Research provides the framework through which the research staff and research infrastructure of the NHS in England is positioned, maintained and managed as a national research facility. The NIHR provides the NHS with the support and infrastructure it needs to conduct first-class research funded by the Government and its partners alongside high-quality patient care, education and training. Its aim is to support outstanding individuals (both leaders and collaborators), working in world class facilities (both NHS and university), conducting leading edge research focused on the needs of patients.
For further information contact Alex Gaskell, Communications Manager, NIHR King's Patient Safety & Service Quality Research Centre. Tel: 020 3299 7552 / 07740 456 432, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / http://www.kingspssq.com
King’s College London
King’s College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (Times Higher 2008) and the fourth oldest in England. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King’s has 19,700 students from more than 150 countries, and 5,400 employees. King’s has an outstanding reputation for providing world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. The College is in the top group of UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of approximately £450 million. An investment of £500 million has been made in the redevelopment of its estate.
King’s has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, social sciences, the health sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA. It is the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe and is home to five Medical Research Council Centres – a total unsurpassed by any other university. For more information, visit www.kcl.ac.uk
King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is one of the UK’s largest and busiest teaching hospitals, with over 6,000 staff providing around 700,000 patient contacts a year. King’s has a unique profile, with a full range of local hospital services for people in the London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark as well as specialist services to patients from further afield. The Trust is recognized internationally for its work in liver disease and transplantation, neurosciences, cardiac and haemato-oncology. King’s also plays a key role in the training and education of medical, nursing and dental students with its academic partner, King’s College London. For more information, visit www.kch.nhs.uk
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