The ArgusHealth boss sorry for 'blame, fear and bullying' highlighted in staff survey (From The Argus)

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Sussex mental health boss sorry for 'blame, fear and bullying' highlighted in staff survey

The Argus: Health boss sorry for 'blame, fear and bullying' highlighted in staff survey Health boss sorry for 'blame, fear and bullying' highlighted in staff survey

A health boss has apologised unreservedly to staff after a survey revealed harsh criticisms of her trust’s culture and leadership.

Lisa Rodrigues, who runs Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said that a cultural change is needed, starting with the board of directors.

The trust provides mental health, learning disability and substance abuse services across Sussex and employs around 5,000 workers.

Almost 70% of workers taking part in the survey felt the trust’s culture was signified by traits of blame, fear and bullying and gave examples of incidents where people were threatened and belittled.

 


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More than half, 53%, said that their workload was too high, and 32% felt that senior managers and the board were out of touch.

Some respondents said they felt that at times they were treated like children.

In a message to staff, Mrs Rodrigues said that workers were particularly unhappy about leadership shown when things went wrong.

She said: “This leaves people feeling stressed and anxious at times when they most need help and support from senior colleagues.

“They said we are not as good as we should be at explaining why changes need to happen, or taking their ideas and feelings into account during times of change or when services are under increased levels of demand.

“I want to apologise unreservedly to our staff who feel like this.

“It is something that I and other members of the board have thought about a great deal.

“We are concerned because there are proven links between the wellbeing of staff and patient care. And we are clear that cultural change has to start with us.”

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Trust Unison branch secretary Peter Atkinson said: “We have been raising the issues referred to in the report with the trust for some time now.

“We are ready as always to work constructively and robustly on these concerns.”

In a joint statement, members of the board said that they were determined to learn from the comments and they would be working closely with staff to develop their response to the survey.

Comments (16)

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6:54am Fri 7 Feb 14

qm says...

"In a joint statement, members of the board said that they were determined to learn from the comments and they would be working closely with staff to develop their response to the survey."

Just like to inform the board that it's not July yet which when pigs fly!
"In a joint statement, members of the board said that they were determined to learn from the comments and they would be working closely with staff to develop their response to the survey." Just like to inform the board that it's not July yet which when pigs fly! qm
  • Score: 7

7:57am Fri 7 Feb 14

still waiting says...

Right, so now's time to continue with Plan A. This is a well-known plan, and goes something like this:
1. Apologise. If in doubt apologise "unreservedly" or "profusely". Either way doesn't really matter, as it costs nothing and looks good to the uninitiated.
2. Carry on much as before. If in doubt put in place a series of meetings or, better still, commission a report on what to do. Ensure that the meetings schedule and/or the report delivery date will mean that nothing much can be done for some time to come.
3. Seek another post or retire on index-linked pension before anydecisions are taken or any report is published.

Simple, and very effective.
Right, so now's time to continue with Plan A. This is a well-known plan, and goes something like this: 1. Apologise. If in doubt apologise "unreservedly" or "profusely". Either way doesn't really matter, as it costs nothing and looks good to the uninitiated. 2. Carry on much as before. If in doubt put in place a series of meetings or, better still, commission a report on what to do. Ensure that the meetings schedule and/or the report delivery date will mean that nothing much can be done for some time to come. 3. Seek another post or retire on index-linked pension before anydecisions are taken or any report is published. Simple, and very effective. still waiting
  • Score: 36

8:59am Fri 7 Feb 14

Can this be says...

The NHS structure remains a mystery to me. What is the "Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust" and which hospitals does it include?
The NHS structure remains a mystery to me. What is the "Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust" and which hospitals does it include? Can this be
  • Score: 4

10:55am Fri 7 Feb 14

redwing says...

Can this be wrote:
The NHS structure remains a mystery to me. What is the "Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust" and which hospitals does it include?
it's big. Go to their website and click on 'Our Services' first. Ignore the box that comes up but find the "Interactive Map of Services" that's under the Main Menu on the left of the page and click on that.
These structures are to do with turning NHS hospitals and health services into businesses so that private companies can screw profits out of people's ill health. Read a book like 'The Plot Against the NHS' and you'll see what I mean, or ‘The NHS after 60- For Patients or Profit.’
[quote][p][bold]Can this be[/bold] wrote: The NHS structure remains a mystery to me. What is the "Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust" and which hospitals does it include?[/p][/quote]it's big. Go to their website and click on 'Our Services' first. Ignore the box that comes up but find the "Interactive Map of Services" that's under the Main Menu on the left of the page and click on that. These structures are to do with turning NHS hospitals and health services into businesses so that private companies can screw profits out of people's ill health. Read a book like 'The Plot Against the NHS' and you'll see what I mean, or ‘The NHS after 60- For Patients or Profit.’ redwing
  • Score: 10

10:59am Fri 7 Feb 14

BeeJam says...

I worked here for several years and was bullied and belittled by non other than the executive director responsible for human resources, ie staff! She told my then manager (who told me) to get me out, by 'performance management', but was told that would not be possible as i was actually competent in my job.

She humiliated me in front of other people at every opportunity and when budget cuts were being made i was first out of the door by way of redundancy. I was also belittled by another exec director and even had to take my case to the union to get an apology - it tool over 14 months to resolve. I can't say I was displeased to leave in the end, and found another job straight away, but there are MANY others like me at SPT who perhaps had more to lose by losing their job.

The entire board imho need reviewing and perhaps replacing in some cases as this behaviour comes from the top. A terrible place to work.
I worked here for several years and was bullied and belittled by non other than the executive director responsible for human resources, ie staff! She told my then manager (who told me) to get me out, by 'performance management', but was told that would not be possible as i was actually competent in my job. She humiliated me in front of other people at every opportunity and when budget cuts were being made i was first out of the door by way of redundancy. I was also belittled by another exec director and even had to take my case to the union to get an apology - it tool over 14 months to resolve. I can't say I was displeased to leave in the end, and found another job straight away, but there are MANY others like me at SPT who perhaps had more to lose by losing their job. The entire board imho need reviewing and perhaps replacing in some cases as this behaviour comes from the top. A terrible place to work. BeeJam
  • Score: 22

11:23am Fri 7 Feb 14

coffeewithoneplease says...

I was a patient at this trust. I had complaints about some staff and poor care. I was bullied by some of my care staff. It got so much worse once I complained though. In the complaints meeting, the male associate director's conduct was shocking. His conduct in my complaint after the meeting was even worse. Complete bully. He's still there too.
I was a patient at this trust. I had complaints about some staff and poor care. I was bullied by some of my care staff. It got so much worse once I complained though. In the complaints meeting, the male associate director's conduct was shocking. His conduct in my complaint after the meeting was even worse. Complete bully. He's still there too. coffeewithoneplease
  • Score: 11

12:29pm Fri 7 Feb 14

Old Ladys Gin says...

I would say that bullying is rife within the NHS and by that I mean bullying of clients (also known as patients) by the system and those it employees.
If you have ever tried to dispute your treatment or even had the damned cheek to ask searching question you will know exactly what I mean.
Pity the poor person who is an impatient with no support from outside.
I would say that bullying is rife within the NHS and by that I mean bullying of clients (also known as patients) by the system and those it employees. If you have ever tried to dispute your treatment or even had the damned cheek to ask searching question you will know exactly what I mean. Pity the poor person who is an impatient with no support from outside. Old Ladys Gin
  • Score: 6

6:40pm Fri 7 Feb 14

jjbrighton2013 says...

I work there it is terrible, no support, senior managers in meetings all the time, they speak to staff like they are idiots. But worst of all is the blame culture.
I work there it is terrible, no support, senior managers in meetings all the time, they speak to staff like they are idiots. But worst of all is the blame culture. jjbrighton2013
  • Score: 14

3:01pm Sat 8 Feb 14

MrsSlocombesPussy says...

I worked for this NHS Trust for many years in a senior nurse capacity and I have to say, bullying was rife when I was there. The staff surveys at the time I left in 2011, scored high for bullying and lack of support from the senior staff, but nothing was done about it. Lisa Rodrigues made cooing noises to us all and then nothing changed.
She says...."“We are concerned because there are proven links between the wellbeing of staff and patient care. And we are clear that cultural change has to start with us.” I couldn't agree more Lisa. You were going to leave in 2010 when I was there after a particularly poor staff survey. You made an announcement to all and sundry that you were going on a long bike ride around Europe and were going to write a book. I suggest you write a long resignation letter and polish up those cycle clips!!
I worked for this NHS Trust for many years in a senior nurse capacity and I have to say, bullying was rife when I was there. The staff surveys at the time I left in 2011, scored high for bullying and lack of support from the senior staff, but nothing was done about it. Lisa Rodrigues made cooing noises to us all and then nothing changed. She says...."“We are concerned because there are proven links between the wellbeing of staff and patient care. And we are clear that cultural change has to start with us.” I couldn't agree more Lisa. You were going to leave in 2010 when I was there after a particularly poor staff survey. You made an announcement to all and sundry that you were going on a long bike ride around Europe and were going to write a book. I suggest you write a long resignation letter and polish up those cycle clips!! MrsSlocombesPussy
  • Score: 19

4:56pm Sat 8 Feb 14

MsNomer says...

I also worked for this Trust for well over a decade and enjoyed working alongside some very dedicated and skilled people; most of whom I had a great relationship with and some of whom I developed close and long lasting friendships with. However, like all organisations, especially large institutions like the NHS, there were - and still are - some deeply unpleasant bullies and unfortunately I ended up working for one of them. The bullying I experienced was so unbearable (but shrouded in performance management) that I instigated a grievance during which time I became very physically and psychologically ill. Sadly, the bullying I experienced, documented, evidenced and complained about, was at the hands of someone just two rungs down from the CE, so my grievance was protracted, fudged and ultimately - I believe for entirely political reasons - whitewashed.

I no longer work for the Trust and feel desperately sad to have lost my role in an organisation that does so much good, and am concerned but not surprised so see that it still endures so much complicit bullying at senior management level.
I also worked for this Trust for well over a decade and enjoyed working alongside some very dedicated and skilled people; most of whom I had a great relationship with and some of whom I developed close and long lasting friendships with. However, like all organisations, especially large institutions like the NHS, there were - and still are - some deeply unpleasant bullies and unfortunately I ended up working for one of them. The bullying I experienced was so unbearable (but shrouded in performance management) that I instigated a grievance during which time I became very physically and psychologically ill. Sadly, the bullying I experienced, documented, evidenced and complained about, was at the hands of someone just two rungs down from the CE, so my grievance was protracted, fudged and ultimately - I believe for entirely political reasons - whitewashed. I no longer work for the Trust and feel desperately sad to have lost my role in an organisation that does so much good, and am concerned but not surprised so see that it still endures so much complicit bullying at senior management level. MsNomer
  • Score: 14

5:27pm Sat 8 Feb 14

Eric Potts says...

The beatings will continue until morale improves.
The beatings will continue until morale improves. Eric Potts
  • Score: 4

6:16pm Sat 8 Feb 14

Speranza says...

Higher up management were immensely out of touch with the work that staff do on acute admission wards.
I was once threatened by a patient with a knife. This should have been classified as a serious untoward incident. Of course it wasn't, but was relegated to the status of just filling in an incident form.

A similar incident happened, but this time it was toward a manager. This time, however, the episode was immediately treated as an SUI. The contrast speaks for itself.
Higher up management were immensely out of touch with the work that staff do on acute admission wards. I was once threatened by a patient with a knife. This should have been classified as a serious untoward incident. Of course it wasn't, but was relegated to the status of just filling in an incident form. A similar incident happened, but this time it was toward a manager. This time, however, the episode was immediately treated as an SUI. The contrast speaks for itself. Speranza
  • Score: 9

1:22pm Mon 10 Feb 14

neverneverland says...

Trust it is run by a bunch of cowardly ignorant managers who have no people skills or experience of managing, or nurturing staff effectively without the need to push them around.
I had a narcisstic manager who hated anyone doing a better job than her. She threatened me with HR or by going to her own manager about me whenever my opinion differed to hers. She wanted to be the centre of attention and when she didnt get her own way she would cry or threaten me.
I protested to her manager who took her side not surprising as they spent their time flirting, role playing with each other.
My mentor advised greivance which I started to go through with but they concocted a plan and made me redundant which is their favourite way of getting rid of staff i.e. through a fake restructure.
Lisa is the trusts chief bully she promotes bullying by her style of leadership which filters down to management structure below who then carry this culture of bullying to the coalface and back up again making sure everyone gets a good solid dose of it.
Does she care? is she really sorry? anyone who works or has worked for the Trust knows this will never change and over the years has reached epidemic proportions.
So many staff have either experienced bullying or know of someone that has.
Its by far the worst employer I have ever worked for - a mental health trust making its own employees mentally ill through bullying and workbased stress.
Not a lot to be proud of is it Lisa.
Trust it is run by a bunch of cowardly ignorant managers who have no people skills or experience of managing, or nurturing staff effectively without the need to push them around. I had a narcisstic manager who hated anyone doing a better job than her. She threatened me with HR or by going to her own manager about me whenever my opinion differed to hers. She wanted to be the centre of attention and when she didnt get her own way she would cry or threaten me. I protested to her manager who took her side not surprising as they spent their time flirting, role playing with each other. My mentor advised greivance which I started to go through with but they concocted a plan and made me redundant which is their favourite way of getting rid of staff i.e. through a fake restructure. Lisa is the trusts chief bully she promotes bullying by her style of leadership which filters down to management structure below who then carry this culture of bullying to the coalface and back up again making sure everyone gets a good solid dose of it. Does she care? is she really sorry? anyone who works or has worked for the Trust knows this will never change and over the years has reached epidemic proportions. So many staff have either experienced bullying or know of someone that has. Its by far the worst employer I have ever worked for - a mental health trust making its own employees mentally ill through bullying and workbased stress. Not a lot to be proud of is it Lisa. neverneverland
  • Score: 16

7:34pm Mon 10 Feb 14

Chad Chadson says...

I too had the considerable misfortune of working for this organisation. An organisation where the executive comprise several mental health nurses, including Ms Rodriguez; said executive thinks nothing of presiding of a culture of bullying and coercion – all the while kidding themselves that they are acting "professionally".

I was there when the she announced that the chief executive would be leaving to ride a pedalo around the Adriatic, or whatever her plans in early 2010 were. I can only imagine the awful effect it would have had on morale when she reversed this decision.

One final point: on the day that this story broke it would not surprise me one iota if Ms Rodriguez had dedicated most of her efforts deciding which photo of herself to send into The Argus. (Black background, concerned expression. Nice.)
I too had the considerable misfortune of working for this organisation. An organisation where the executive comprise several mental health nurses, including Ms Rodriguez; said executive thinks nothing of presiding of a culture of bullying and coercion – all the while kidding themselves that they are acting "professionally". I was there when the she announced that the chief executive would be leaving to ride a pedalo around the Adriatic, or whatever her plans in early 2010 were. I can only imagine the awful effect it would have had on morale when she reversed this decision. One final point: on the day that this story broke it would not surprise me one iota if Ms Rodriguez had dedicated most of her efforts deciding which photo of herself to send into The Argus. (Black background, concerned expression. Nice.) Chad Chadson
  • Score: 11

8:54pm Thu 13 Feb 14

Mat321 says...

I've also worked here very recently and the report is just a summary of what is really happening. The board is populated by bullies headed up by a patronising, self deluded bully. Two other significant females in the board are tyrants whom I have seen shout at and belittle staff. One of these was recently sidelined but still in post.

Bullying is rife and an everyday reality. I feel for the staff who continue to work hard for patients. The board appeared stunned and concerned which is well rehearsed considering they had likely received the report before Christmas then sat on it for a month.

The truth is the staff aren't suprised of its contents as for many it validates their real life experiences. It's significant to note that in a blame culture such as this someone would have been forced to take the blame and leave. However no one in the board is accepting any responsibility or blame. I think most of the board need to resign so that staff can then be lead in a positive way.... Argus I wish you would report more on this story. If you delve a little deeper you will find shocking examples of extremely worrying treatment of staff, largely by senior staff on three figure sums.
I've also worked here very recently and the report is just a summary of what is really happening. The board is populated by bullies headed up by a patronising, self deluded bully. Two other significant females in the board are tyrants whom I have seen shout at and belittle staff. One of these was recently sidelined but still in post. Bullying is rife and an everyday reality. I feel for the staff who continue to work hard for patients. The board appeared stunned and concerned which is well rehearsed considering they had likely received the report before Christmas then sat on it for a month. The truth is the staff aren't suprised of its contents as for many it validates their real life experiences. It's significant to note that in a blame culture such as this someone would have been forced to take the blame and leave. However no one in the board is accepting any responsibility or blame. I think most of the board need to resign so that staff can then be lead in a positive way.... Argus I wish you would report more on this story. If you delve a little deeper you will find shocking examples of extremely worrying treatment of staff, largely by senior staff on three figure sums. Mat321
  • Score: 16

10:12pm Thu 13 Feb 14

PlanetZog says...

My partner has worked for the so called caring Sussex Partnership and has been on the receiving end of the constant bullying by senior managers and board members. If you challenge them they instigate "competencies" as it's obviously the bullied person who is at fault. It's an organisation that blames the workers rather than accept that their policies are not working. I think this is endemic within Sussex as a whole. Try working for East Sussex County Council. Bullying and harrassment of staff is common place too. I used to work for them but got out before they could destroy me. So many other colleagues left too because of the treatment by managers who bullied, belittled and literally shouted down anyone who challenged them. Thankfully I got out. I raised my concerns with the chief exec and other directors but my concerns were swept under the carpet which didn't surprise me as they dislike the truth. There should be formal investigations into both of these organisations who are there for the people of Sussex but actually cares very little for them
My partner has worked for the so called caring Sussex Partnership and has been on the receiving end of the constant bullying by senior managers and board members. If you challenge them they instigate "competencies" as it's obviously the bullied person who is at fault. It's an organisation that blames the workers rather than accept that their policies are not working. I think this is endemic within Sussex as a whole. Try working for East Sussex County Council. Bullying and harrassment of staff is common place too. I used to work for them but got out before they could destroy me. So many other colleagues left too because of the treatment by managers who bullied, belittled and literally shouted down anyone who challenged them. Thankfully I got out. I raised my concerns with the chief exec and other directors but my concerns were swept under the carpet which didn't surprise me as they dislike the truth. There should be formal investigations into both of these organisations who are there for the people of Sussex but actually cares very little for them PlanetZog
  • Score: 5

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