Tackling bullying in the ambulance workforce

Tackling bullying

Ambulance services face the highest rates of bullying and harassment from staff in the NHS. A working group of colleagues from ambulance trusts has produced Tackling bullying in ambulance trusts: a guide for action report containing analysis, advice, case studies and recommendations for how to tackle bullying and create positive cultures in ambulance trusts.  

The report identifies four areas where staff feel bullying is more prevalent, these are:

  • the way shifts are allocated
  • management style
  • performance management
  • command and control top down culture.

A checklist of activities is included which can be used to flag where organisations might want to focus more attention to help tackle bullying and harassment.   

The report concludes with four recommendations for ambulance trusts to put into action. 

  1. Consider investing in capacity and resource to tackle bullying.
  2. Senior leaders should have a SMART objective related to tackling bullying so that there is accountability and a clear lead in the organisation.  
  3. Undertake more analysis of the data and identify clearly the cost of potential or actual bullying to organisations, including how much productivity is lost when this occurs. This can be used to shape a measure for improvement which forms part of an organisational action plan. 
  4. Recognise that despite the complexity and ambiguity around poor behaviours and bullying, bold moves need to be taken. Staff should demonstrate compassion for each other in the way that they do for patients.

Read the recommendations in full in the Tackling bullying in ambulance trusts: a guide for action.  The report was endorsed by The National Ambulance Social Partnership Forum on 5 November 2018 and should be read in conjunction with the NASPF Call To Action document

Read how South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust worked in partnership with trade union colleagues to conduct an in-depth review on bullying and harassment.

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