Reps ‘barred’ from talking to staff at St Mary’s Hospital, say GMB

The GMB – the union for NHS hospital staff, ambulance frontline professionals and support workers – say the Isle of Wight NHS Trust has “picked the wrong union to try such heavy handed bullying tactics with”.

Stop halt sign:

Staff are still feeling the pressure from being over worked and under resourced, whilst seeing and receiving less support and training on an on-going basis, says GMB Southern

Management at St Mary’s NHS Trust have refused to allow staff to speak to the GMB – the union for NHS hospital staff, ambulance frontline professionals and support workers to air their complaints and concerns

Members requested talks with union
GMB had been asked by members and concerned staff to attend the Isle of Wight NHS Trust’s main base, to discuss increasing accounts of bullying and harassment by management and colleagues, organisational lack of support and respect of staff, along with high and increasing workloads, and staffing shortages, amongst a raft of other issues.

Three GMB officials were blocked and prevented from talking to any members of staff and from giving out information and a staff survey by on site security. This was directly on the orders of the Trust management and raises the question to members and staff alike as to what the Trust possibly has to hide?

Trust still rated ‘Inadequate’ by CQC
The Isle of Wight NHS Trust who is still currently rated as inadequate by the CQC, is responsible for the integrated health needs of the island and community, including both the emergency and patient transport ambulance services.

The CQC report is critical of the Trust in not being well led. Although the Trust saw a change of Chief Exec in May 2017 with the appointment of Maggie Oldham, GMB members are telling their union that they have seen little real change in the way bullying and harassment is dealt with. The strongest statement to date came from the Trust board when they said:

“There continues to be the perception by staff of an ongoing bullying culture within the Trust.”

Glowing reports of staff, despite of Trust management
Adrian Baker, GMB Regional Organiser said:

“GMB members and Trust staff have been praised by the CQC, with patients and their families on a regular basis telling them they are caring, kind, professional and always treating patients with dignity and respect.

“The truth is though that such glowing reports of staff are despite of the Trust management team rather than because of it. The management and board rhetoric that they hear that things are improving within the Trust is not manifesting itself on the front line. Staff are still feeling the pressure from being over worked and under resourced, whilst seeing and receiving less support and training on an on-going basis.”

GMB: “Bullying is a real and growing issue”
He went on to say,

“Bullying is a real and growing issue, which the Trust have washed their hands of. They feel that if reports of bullying to the Trust are down then the problem must have gone.

“That’s simply not true, bullying is endemic and growing at the Trust. Staff are so fed up with complaints either not being taken seriously or even believed, that when it is investigated, so many obstacles and issues are put in front of those raising complaints them. This ends up with staff feeling even more bullied, ostracised and alone for doing so. So they called the GMB to help and step in.”

Picked the wrong union to try bullying tactics
Adrian finished by saying,

“What we didn’t expect though was the lengths the Trust would go to in preventing GMB from doing that. When we tried to speak to our own members and concerned NHS staff over issues throughout the Trust, we were met by security waiting to greet us and escort us off the hospital site. This gave us a real indication of the way they feel they can unilaterally behave towards anyone who dares to challenge them.

“Unfortunately for them they’ve picked the wrong union to try such heavy handed bullying tactics with.

“That’s why GMB were there in the first place and that’s also why we won’t be going away either. If the Trust and staff side associations aren’t interested in helping NHS staff, GMB certainly are, with or without Trust permissions and support, just as we have done so at NHS hospitals and ambulance Trusts throughout the NHS.

“Let’s just hope that the Trust, who have appointed a freedom to speak up guardian, apply a little freedom to speak of their own, and we can get on with supporting members and staff alike from now on.”

News shared by Gary Palmer on behalf of the GMB. Ed

Image: artbystevejohnson under CC BY 2.0

Tuesday, 10th July, 2018 6:56pm



Filed under: Ambulance, Health, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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8 Comments on "Reps ‘barred’ from talking to staff at St Mary’s Hospital, say GMB"

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Email updates?
I do not believe it

It is apparent that a very corrosive culture has evolved at St. Mary’s Hospital. If allowed to develop and thrive this poisonous management style will inevitably result in the severe decline and possible closure of the hospital.
Why would anyone want to work there, let alone submitting themselves as a patient?

Another Perspective
Concerned about reading media reports bullying at St Mary’s continues, I formally asked the IW NHS Trust Board about a month ago how many employees had the Trust dismissed specifically for bullying over the last 12 months? They responded to this question as a FOI request, and replied ‘NIL’ I guess one can only conclude that either bullying isn’t an issue at St Mary’s, or that there… Read more »

IDNBI is correct; has our NHS reached the point where all non medical, so-called, Hospital Managers should be made to re-apply for their jobs?

Sally/Simon Why did you split the two halves of this story? Putting them side by side would accentuate the areas of dispute and put this “story” into perspective. St Mary’s managers know perfectly well that staff can communicate with their union outside working hours so there would be no need to impede contact inside, unless there was indeed risk to patients, as they claimed. And why is… Read more »
Sally Perry

Thanks for your editorial advice Electrickery.

We ran the GMB release yesterday because it arrived yesterday.

We ran the NHS response today because it arrived today.


Un-called-for sarcasm, Sally. It would be a sad loss if OtW became yet enother outlet for Press Releases – we already have the CP for that.
In the interests of balance, your readers might like to note the small item at the foot of page 9 of the current Private Eye…

Sally Perry
Running press releases is nothing new for us, we’ve been doing it for over a decade, along with plenty of original articles researched and written by us too, including many scoops and exposes. We’re not a massive multi-million pound organisation with dozens of staff and the luxury of time. We’re two people working long hours to provide a trustworthy, independent, Island-owned and Island-run alternative. If you want… Read more »

Don’t feed the troll Sally.