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‘We’ve got no magic fix’ admits director of trust with ‘culture of fear’

The deputy leader of a trust rated ‘inadequate’ by a health watchdog four times in the past decade has admitted the necessary changes to its culture may take a further four years.

Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust staved off calls to break it up earlier this year after the Care Quality Commission raised its rating from “inadequate” to “requires improvement”.

However, it has come under increased scrutiny in recent months after a review found it lost track of patient deaths, and a subsequent BBC Newsnight investigation discovered the report was edited to remove criticism of its leadership.

The BBC found earlier drafts removed references to a “culture of fear” highlighted by some staff.

Now deputy CEO Cath Byford has addressed growing concerns about the morale of staff working at the organisation, and their ability to speak up, at a meeting of Norfolk County Council’s health overview and scrutiny committee.

During the meeting, she revealed the results of an anonymous survey which received 18,000 staff interactions. Most feedback was “not positive” admitted Ms Byford.

She said many staff reported bullying and harassment, unfairness, inequality, and nepotism. This was particularly the case in recruitment, with staff feeling jobs were being lined up for certain individuals.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 15 September 2023


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