Health Group Criticised Over Bullying Culture

A major NHS organisation has been criticised over what appears to be an endemic culture of bullying and harassment.

NHS Kernow in Cornwall will be held culpable for what has been described as a massive series of failings.

The organisation is already being examined over mounting debts and deficit, but now the overall culture of NHS Kernow will also be placed under the microscope as part of this ongoing process.

While the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has already responded to the allegations, and is confident that the problem is under control, there are clearly organisational difficulties for NHS Kernow to contend with.

The CCG has been under legal directions from NHS England since December.

Chairman Dr Iain Chorlton, though, suggested that the organisation is already well on track to improve the treatment of patients.

“Importantly, the report acknowledges that we had already recognised many of the issues raised and were taking steps to address them before the review,” Chorlton asserted.

It is evident that the problems at NHS Kernow can be traced to the very hierarchy of the organisation.

A recent capacity and capability report of the organisation highlighted some of the inadequacies of the CCG, with particular emphasis placed on “confusion and dysfunction” and a “lack of operational grip” among the group’s leadership.

Low staff morale was also outlined by the report, while it is also suggested that the managerial strata of the organisation is somewhat unaccountable.

In compiling the report, its authors noted that “challenge and feedback is not always welcome”.

NHS Kernow is already facing massive financial problems, with the trust having accumulated a deficit in excess of £50 million in the most recent financial year.

Overspending on packages of care for patients with complex needs have been central to this process according to the organisation itself, and NHS Kernow claims that it will work to integrate services with partners in order to ease budgetary difficulties.

NHS Kernow was ordered by NHS England in December to draw up a recovery plan when the scale of its financial problems became clear.

The health group has a £700 million annual budget to buy health services for patients in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

And there has already been a managerial shake up inside the organisation in an attempt to get the health service body on an even keel.

Joy Youart, the managing director of NHS Kernow since its launch, was suspended from her £150,000 annual role in February 2016.

It is clear that the organisation must improve significantly.


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