Nearly half the staff working for the NHS in Shetland have been verbally abused and nearly a third bullied within the workplace, according to a biannual NHS staff attitude survey published this week.
The survey, to which 345 employees in Shetland (62 per cent) replied, one of the highest response rates in Scotland, showed that 48 per cent had received verbal and emotional abuse, with 34 per cent of the incidents coming from patients, relatives of patients or service users over the last 12 months.
The survey also showed 32 per cent of staff had experienced bullying or harassment during their employment with the board, with the greatest incidences being staff to staff. A significant proportion was also from patients or service users and members of the public. Less bullying and harassment was reported from managers and team leaders to staff.
A spokeswoman for NHS Shetland said: “The board operates a ‘no tolerance’ approach to bullying and harassment and is absolutely committed to working with staff and service users on how we can reduce this. It was encouraging, however, that 57 per cent of staff who had reported incidences of bullying and harassment were satisfied with the response they received.”
However many positive features emerged in the survey. Staff working for NHS Shetland get a greater sense of achievement from their work and more scope for using their own initiative than other NHS workers in Scotland.
The survey showed that 91 per cent of staff are happy to go the “extra mile” at work when required and 82 per cent believe that care of patients or service users is the board’s top priority.
Nearly all, 86 per cent, of staff are clear about their roles and responsibilities, and four out of five feel that are able to do their job to a standard that they are personally pleased with.
But less than two-thirds, 61 per cent, feel that they are kept informed about what is happening, although 71 per cent feel that managers communicate effectively with them and encourage them at work.
Some 83 per cent feel they get help and support from their colleagues.
Although 62 per cent of staff feel confident to put forward new ideas or suggestions for improvement in their workplace, only half believe these would be listened to.
Other figures show that 79 per cent of staff feel that they receive the respect they deserve from colleagues at work and 75 per cent intend to be working at the board in 12 months’ time.
Chief executive Ralph Roberts said: “I am really pleased with the positive comments about working for NHS Shetland that are highlighted in this survey. This shows that overall our staff are positive about working for NHS Shetland and this clearly contributes to the service that is offered to our patients. I am disappointed by the apparent levels of concern over bullying and harassment. No member of staff should experience this and we are committed to working with our staff to identify how this can be addressed.”