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RCS concerned by 2012 NHS Staff Survey showing increase in bullying

28 February 2013

Bullying of NHS staff doubles in one year, new statistics show

NHS Staff Survey results for 2012 (published today) show a significant rise in reported bullying of staff.

Worryingly 29% of all staff report having been harassed, bullied or abused by patients in the previous 12 months, with over a fifth (23%) reporting harassment, bullying, or abuse from NHS managers, team leaders or other colleagues. The comparative figures for 2011 are 13% and 14% respectively.

In acute settings (e.g. hospitals), 24% of doctors report being harassed, bullied or abused by NHS managers, team leaders or other staff in the past year. This compares to 13% in 2011.

The survey also found a rise in the confidence of the quality of care staff are delivering. The reported quality of work and patient care all staff are able to deliver has shown a slight increase (from 74.7% in 2011 to 78.1% in 2012) despite the continued financial pressures being felt across the health service.

Professor Norman Williams, President of the Royal College of Surgeons said:

"Aggressive management has no place in the NHS. Hospitals need to foster a culture that encourages staff to be open with one another, and where clinical care is always the top priority.
Clinicians and managers working together must create a more open NHS where anyone feels able to speak out when there is unacceptable behaviour,  so that bullying, harassment and abuse are stamped out, once and for all."

Notes for editors

  1. The NHS Staff Survey 2012 results can be found online. Comparable data for 2011 is online.
  2. The RCS recently published guidance to clinicians about speaking out and whistleblowing in the NHS which can be found online.
  3. For more information, please contact the RCS press office on: