Investigation launched into ‘bullying’ at Sheffield mental health trust as new whistleblower comes forward

An investigation has been launched at Sheffield Health and Social Care Trust after allegations of bullying and harassment were raised about one of its senior leaders.

By Dan Hayes
Thursday, 02 May, 2019, 11:07

In March, an anonymous whistleblower claimed a culture of ‘fear, bullying and harassment’ had developed within a department at the Sheffield Health and Social Care Trust because of the behaviour of a senior manager.

The Trust has since confirmed it was investigating the matter under their established HR procedures, but in the interests of confidentiality and fairness to all parties would not be commenting further.

Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust.

A second whistleblower - who also spoke to the Star on condition of anonymity - confirmed multiple members of the department’s senior management team had left because of the problem.

They also claimed the senior leadership of the Trust had known about the problem for some time, even going so far as the bring in a new deputy head of the department to ‘solve it’, who then became a victim of it himself.

They said: “Somebody needs to be held responsible for what has gone on. There is more than one person in the executive management team that has known about it and I would have expected that all of them knew about it.

“The cultural problem comes from a specific person but the executive team hasn’t addressed it. Culture in an organisation comes from the top down.”

And now, further allegations of bullying in another SHSC directorate have been made.

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A third whistleblower - who also did not want to be named - said complaints had also been made about a manager in the trust’s estates department.

The behaviour is said to include foul and abusive language, staff being ‘hounded out’ for going on sick leave, and jobs being offered in the department as favours.

The whistleblower added that many people had complained about the situation but that the human resources department had just ‘covered it up’.

He said: “A lot of people want to speak up but they are too scared to do so. It is desperation for people in that department at the moment. Morale is absolutely rock bottom.”

“Kevan Taylor, chief executive at Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have a zero tolerance approach to bullying and harassment and want all of our staff to feel able to talk about any concerns they may have.

“We offer safeguards and support to anyone who raises concerns with us directly and where appropriate we will take appropriate action, which can include an investigation of the facts.

“An investigation regarding concerns raised by staff under our established HR procedures is already underway and in the interest of fairness and confidentiality, it would be highly inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”