‘The management closed ranks’ - one ambulance worker reveals how safeguarding concern was dealt with
PUBLISHED: 06:10 20 October 2020 | UPDATED: 09:13 20 October 2020
Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2009
Inspectors heavily criticised the way the leadership of the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) dealt with complaints before it was placed into “special measures” on Monday.
Speaking anonymously, out of fear they would lose their job, one staff member reveals what happened when they made a safeguarding complaint about a colleague.
It was just horrendous at the time.
It all got brushed under the carpet and the guy was allowed to keep working there - the management closed ranks.
I’ve worked there for years so knew the culture and that almost put me off coming forward, so for a couple of weeks after it happened I ummed and ahhed.
There were a lot of little incidents before that and then this bigger one happened.
A manager said, why didn’t you come to me sooner? And I said, because nothing ever gets done.
Once I made a formal complaint he was suspended but then a few days later he was back at work.
I thought, what the hell is going on? My union took it up and he was then off for several months but we had to push them to investigate it.
We had to keep chasing them up. I got really stressed about it. It was a big thing for me to do. I had never put in a complaint before.
Then there was a disciplinary and they cleared him and he came back to work.
I was devastated and shocked. I was so angry. I believe he is dangerous and he is still working for the Trust.
This staff member’s experience is backed up by findings from inspectors at the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
They concluded in a report last month: “There were not robust systems in place to ensure complaints were appropriately investigated.”
They added: “Staff told us they were reluctant and even fearful to raise concerns, with negative consequences including punishment, bullying and a lack of confidentiality when speaking to managers.”
In response, EEAST said it was surveying all staff on their experience of the Trust’s culture, including of inappropriate behaviour.
They added: “We’ve reviewed and updated all our safeguarding policies, and had them peer-reviewed to make sure they’re robust and fit-for-purpose
“We’re examining the systems and processes we have in place to ensure they protect staff from inappropriate behaviour.”
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