Directors assigned to resolve bullying claims

The QT's front page, Wednesday May 10, 2017.
The QT's front page, Wednesday May 10, 2017.

A MESSAGE has been sent out to staff at Ipswich Hospital warning bullying will not be tolerated.

In response to the QT's article exposing a major work culture issue within the mental health unit, West Moreton Hospital and Health Service's chief executive directly addressed the allegations in an internal memo.

"I will not tolerate bullying by any staff member against any other staff member," interim chief executive Dr Kerrie Freeman wrote in the memo sent out on Wednesday.

"I can guarantee you that the executive team, the board chair and members of the board will not tolerate bullying either."

The strongly-worded memo, urging those affected to come forward, was followed by a separate note from the Executive Director of Mental Health.

Dr Leanne Geppert repeated the anti-bullying message and urged bullied staff to come forward.

"I will be directly working with the Mental Health Unit staff over the coming weeks to step up the pace on the support that is already being given," Dr Geppert wrote.

Since the article published on Wednesday the QT has received dozens of emails from former and current staff. Each one has pleaded that their name, or details provided on specific incidents, not be repeated for fear of reprisal.

Since September, dedicated HR staff have been working with the unit to resolve issues known to management, West Moreton says.

Now, in response to allegations highlighted by the QT, two directors will also be working directly with staff.

"Dedicated HR staff were assigned to support the management of HR issues in the unit, including employee complaints," West Moreton says.

"To build on this, a support plan tailored to the needs of the AMHU has been in development since late last year, and will include physical improvements to the AMHU space to make it a more attractive place to work; extra behavioural management training to help staff identify and manage incidents before they escalate; and behaviour awareness sessions to give staff the confidence to know what behaviour they should expect from workmates and colleagues. Consultation with union partners is a critical part of the roll out of this program.

"WMHHS' Executive Director Nursing and Midwifery and Executive Director, Mental Health and Specialised Services, will now work directly with managers, staff and union partners to finalise this program, embed it into the unit's business as usual, and resolve any remaining issues."

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