An ambulance trust has been placed in special measures after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) rated its leadership ‘inadequate’ and said staff felt unable to raise concerns without fear of reprisal
The CQC inspected South East Coast Ambulance Service Foundation Trust after being contacted by staff with concerns about bullying and harassment, inappropriate sexualised behaviour and a leadership team which failed to address concerns.
Many of the concerns echo those raised in 2017 in an independent review into a “culture of fear” at the trust, shortly after it was first placed in regulatory special measures. It was taken out in 2019 but has now been placed back in the equivalent “recovery support programme” on the CQC’s recommendation.
CQC director of integrated care Amanda Williams praised staff who had contacted the regulator. She said: “While staff were doing their very best to provide safe care to patients, leaders often appeared out of touch with what was happening on the front line and weren’t always aware of the challenges staff faced. Staff described feeling unable to raise concerns without fear of reprisal – and when concerns were raised, these were not acted on.
“This meant that some negative aspects of the organisational culture, including bullying and harassment and inappropriate sexualised behaviour, were not addressed and became normalised behaviours."
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Source: HSJ, 22 June 2022