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‘Bullying, intimidation and reprisals’ undermined patient care at trust, review concludes

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A ‘culture of distrust’ between consultants and the use of incident reporting as a tool of ‘reprisal’ impacted patient care at a trust’s cardiology department, a review has concluded.

An external review undertaken for Hull University Teaching Hospitals Trust has made a series of recommendations after looking into allegations of bullying and several examples of poor care within its cardiology services.

In a report published in the trust’s board papers, the Royal College of Physicians reported a “perceived tendency to downplay clinical incidents, and, to undermine those who wanted to raise patient safety issues”.

It added: “We met a group of individual consultants who did not work well as a team. There is a culture of distrust, a lack of departmental cohesion and allegations of bullying in the department. All of which reinforce a clear divide between the interventional and non-interventional consultant cardiologists."

“There have been a number of allegations of belittling, intimidation and undermining…The review team heard accounts of a culture where datix has been used as a tool for possible personal reprisal along with ignoring/downplaying incidents that have been raised.”

The review concludes: “This behaviour is impacting on patient care and therefore, all medical staff should be reminded of good medical practice as the [General Medical Council] code of conduct of how doctors must work collaboratively with colleagues.”

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Source: HSJ, 16 November 2021

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