Trade unions said staff who care for Covid-19 patients who die in a major UK teaching hospital were targeted for bullying and abuse campaigns.
Medical personnel at Queens Medical Center in Nottingham have been barred from sick leave by their managers, Unison said.
The union explained that he was screaming openly in the ward, saying he had refused important personal protective equipment stored in a locked office.
Others are told that their lives become “living hell” if they talk to them, and that some are understood to be ill due to stress.
It is alleged that non-specialist staff were trying to act as palliative caregivers in unprecedented situations without the support of the wider Nottingham University Hospital Trust.
The union said it created a “sickboard” in the break room, listing the individual symptoms of everyone who would be embarrassed to get involved in the job if the employee feels unwell.
Unison is currently raising collective complaints on behalf of more than 20 Trust employees who have been reassigned to care for patients with coronavirus at the Queens Medical Center.
The center is the second largest teaching hospital in the UK.
As one of the staff said:
“It was incredibly stressful.”
Individuals said hospital palliative care teams typically handle about 200 deaths each year, but had to kill 185 in four months.
“People doing the job usually get a high level of training and support because of stress. None of them were there,” they said.
Another member of the staff said that any complaints only targeted you for bullying by the manager.
“There was a ward in the break room that posted everyone’s individual illness, which threatened you no matter how sick you were,” they said.
“If you get sick, you’ll be taken to a meeting to discuss your illness record, going back 16 years.”
“We are very pleased to meet you,” said Dave Latchford, director of the East Midlands region at Unison. “I’m talking about a very good team that tolerated bullying and rebelled against a culture that could not handle it.
He also added: “Staff were told that their lives were put in hell because of complaints.
“Nobody should be bullied at work, at least not in all those who put their families on hold and are dying for the rest of us.
“We have a catalog of intolerable behaviors reported by staff, and trust must resolve this quickly.”
Dr. Neil Pease, People Director of the University of Nottingham Hospitals Trust, told the BBC that he was “disappointed” when asked about the staff’s claims.
He said: “We greatly value our staff for the incredible dedication and resilience they have shown during the pandemic.
“Listening to these complaints is certainly very annoying, as they did amazing things in the face of truly unprecedented challenges.
“Bullying and harassment are unacceptable in our organization.”
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