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East of England Ambulance Service staff 'silenced' over bullying

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Concerns have been raised that NHS ambulance staff are being "silenced" over bullying allegations.

Hundreds of East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS) employees reported bullying in 2018, while 28 non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) have been issued since 2016. The GMB union said the figures showed a "heavy-handed culture".

The service said it took bullying and harassment "extremely seriously" and had policies to prevent such behaviour.

EEAS faced scrutiny in November when it emerged three members of staff died in 11 days. One, Luke Wright, 24, is believed to have taken his own life. An independent investigation, which dealt in part with bullying claims, has been carried out with the results reported to the trust in January.

The 28 NDAs had been made in cases where bullying, harassment or abuse by colleagues had been reported, according to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. These involved an individual agreement, often with a payment, which prevented the person speaking about their case.

In the latest staff survey from 2018, 23% of staff reported bullying, up from 21% in the previous year.

The GMB said NDAs were seen as a "method of silencing rather than resolving" and called on the trust to discuss more meaningful ways of dealing with problems.

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Source: BBC News, 10 February 2020

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