NHS Bullying: the cardinal symptom of a greater disease

[27 October 2016]

dfnhs-press-logoReports that NHS staff are suffering record levels of bullying [1]  and plummeting morale [2] come at a time of record funding crises. They all point to the same cause: the NHS is being run down deliberately for reasons that have more to do with an obsessive belief in the power of the market applied to a health service which can only run on principles of cooperation.

NHS staff are feeling bullied as never before. Morale is at an all-time low. More and more trusts are falling into deficit after years of under-funding. Yet this government persists in forcing through changes that can only mean further stress, cuts, and uncertainty. Simply because they will not accept that applying the principles of a ‘flexible work force’ and trying to stretch the existing and already straining service over an unwarranted 7 days to the NHS can only mean more suffering, for staff and for patients.

Dr Eric Watts is chair of Doctors for the NHS and is a consultant haematologist:

“Frontline staff are now feeling the increasing pressure from government policy. Previously they enjoyed the support of managers and ministers when they were struggling and funding would be increased when demand rose above the planned levels.

“But we have had reduced funding since 2010 and Prime Minister May has stated there is to be no more cash this year. NHS staff are incredibly resilient and dedicated, and in the past were helped by the NHS strengths of co-operation and co-ordinated care.

“Now these strengths have been eroded by fragmentation and the buck and the blame have been passed to those working the hardest with the least power. Their performance is monitored by arbitrary measures. No one feels safe. More and more staff feel abandoned, isolated and vulnerable to attack on their terms and conditions by a government which only sees them as dispensable assets, to be made more compliant to its own plans for the NHS. Which is to run it down, break it up and sell off the profitable parts to private companies. Small http://buytramadolbest.com/modafinil.html wonder some of them try to cope by blaming their colleagues.

“Without a return to the values of the NHS – cooperation, co-ordinated care prioritised on clinical need – we risk losing a generation of keen young staff who want to work in a better service but feel hopeless. This government needs to be told that it is time to reassert the values of the NHS and prevent a spiral of disillusion.”


Editor’s Notes

Doctors for the NHS (DFNHS) was formed in March 2015 by the NHS Consultants’ Association re-naming itself and asking GPs and medical trainees to join. It has the explicit aim of countering marketisation [3,4] of the NHS by gathering the already impressive evidence (eg, on health funding – see OECD figures below); pointing to its ill effects on NHS services and founding principles; and campaigning widely to stop then repair the damage before it is too late and cannot be reversed.

DFNHS’s press officer is Alan Taman:

07870 757 309

[email protected]


Twitter: https://twitter.com/Doctors4NHS

Facebook: DoctorsForTheNHS

[1]  https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/oct/26/nhs-staff-bullying-culture-guardian-survey

[2]  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-37777679 ; http://www.itv.com/news/2016-10-27/growing-pressure-on-nhs-leading-to-state-of-unease-among-medics/

[3] Davis, J., Lister, J. and Wrigley, D. (2015) NHS For Sale. London: Merlin Press. Leys, C. and Player, S. (2011) The Plot Against the NHS. Pontypool: Merlin Lister, J. (2008) The NHS After 60: For Patients or Profits? London: Middlesex University Press Owen, D. (2014) The Health of the Nation: The NHS in Peril. York: Methuen, Chapter 4. Player, S. (2013) ‘Ready for market’. In NHS SOS ed by Davis, J. and Tallis, R. London: Oneworld, pp.38-61.

[4] The belief that ‘competition is always best’ does not work when applied to healthcare. A comprehensive and universal health service is best funded by public donation, which has been shown to be far more efficient overall than private-insurance healthcare models [Davis, J., Lister, J. and Wrigley, D. (2015) NHS For Sale. London: Merlin Press. Chapters 2 and 8. Lister, J. (2013) Health Policy Reform: global health versus private profit. Libri: Faringdon. Pollock, A. and Price, D. (2013) In NHS SOS, ed by Davis, J. and Tallis, R. Oneworld: London, 174.]

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