Health board investigating bullying allegations by surgery staff at University Hospital of Wales
Richard Youle, local democracy reporter
Bullying allegations made by cardiac surgery staff are being investigated by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.
Concerns were raised about staff not treating each other with respect at the University Hospital of Wales’s cardiothoracic department.
They were flagged up in a survey by the General Medical Council (GMC).
A source has told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the bullying claims were made by cardiac surgery trainees.
The GMC survey asked if respondents agreed with the statement that staff, including trainees, always treated each other with respect. Everyone who responded disagreed.
A majority of respondents also said they disagreed with the statement that staff, including trainees, were always treated fairly.
But no-one disagreed with the statement that the working environment was a fully supportive one.
The GMC said it was aware of “concerns” at the University Hospital of Wales’ cardiothoracic department.
“These are currently being addressed locally by the health board,” said a GMC spokesman.
A separate workforce body, Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW), is also aware of the concerns.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service asked Cardiff and Vale University Health Board if it was aware of bullying allegations made by cardiac surgery trainees and, if so, whether it was investigating, whether any interim action had been taken as a result, and whether patient care had been affected.
A health board spokeswoman said it was aware of the concerns.
She said: “As a health board we do not condone bullying and harassment of any kind which is reflected in the values of the health board.
“We have been working closely with the department to address the concerns raised and have liaised closely with colleagues in HEIW and the GMC.
“An internal review has taken place and HEIW will be visiting the service as part of their own review process into the training environment.”
She added that the health board encouraged staff to speak up about any concerns and safety issues.
HEIW has also commented. Tom Lawson, the organisations’s postgraduate medical dean, said: “We take the concerns of our trainees very seriously; on being made aware of this concern we immediately liaised with the senior team at the health board and asked them to undertake a review.
“This review has taken place and the health board have confirmed they are taking steps as a result and are keeping us informed of progress.
“We are also visiting the cardiothoracic surgery department as part of our own review process into the training environment.”
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Poorly constructed survey. Everyone knows that the answer to any question containing ‘always’ or ‘never’ is No or False! Had they asked ‘are trainees usually treated fairly/with respect?’ most responders would likely have said yes. A negative reply then would have been much more significant.