Friday, 16 October 2015

Can people recover from suspension and other workplace bullying?

Is there any help anywhere?  Read on……

‘Tim Field, who died in 2006 aged 53 from cancer, was a world authority on bullying and psychiatric injury, and author of the best-selling Bully in Sight (1997). His vision was for a bully-free world, and he campaigned in schools, further and higher education, and the workplace to achieve this.

In 1994, after nearly 20 years working in computing, he had himself been a victim of workplace bullying and suffered a breakdown. After recovering, he became passionate about understanding and dealing with the problem.

He set up the UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line in 1996, and then an information website, Success Unlimited (later Bully Online), which was widely used. He formed a publishing house from which he released Bully in Sight. One review said: "Thank you for writing Bully in Sight. It's like a torch in the darkness." Tens of thousands of copies were sold in 30 countries. In 1998 Field published David Kinchin's Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: the Invisible Injury. Then, in 2001 he co-authored and published (with Neil Marr), Bullycide: Death at Playtime, an exposé of child suicide caused by bullying.

He lectured all over the world. His clients included individuals as well as institutions such as the BBC, trade unions, police forces and local authorities. He worked personally on more than 5,000 bullying cases, highlighting the lack of understanding for victims. He revealed patterns showing how trade unions often failed to deal effectively with the problem among their members.

Field believed that bullying was the single most important social issue of today, and that its study provided an opportunity to understand the behaviours which underlie almost all conflict and violence. His work inspired and influenced international anti-bullying organisations, while his personal energy, commitment and knowledge restored sanity and saved lives.’  (Written by Will Messenger )

This year’s Memorial lecture is on Saturday, 7th November 2015 ‘Surviving Bullying at Work ‘
to be presented by Dr Keith Munday.  

It will draw on the findings of recently undertaken research which explores the experiences of those who have been bullied by their co-workers. Some of the factors which facilitate post-traumatic growth will also be considered.

Proceedings will start at 1.15pm, in the Sumpner Lecture Theatre, Floor 6, Main Building, Aston University, Birmingham, B4 7ET, UNITED KINGDOM

(15 minutes walk from New Street Station).



Hope you can make it.

With very best wishes for your own recovery journey

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Robert Francis report – sack malfunctioning managers

The Robert Francis report published recently said nothing new for all of us who are whistleblowers or who have fallen foul of NHS managers by being outspoken. 

Nor does it give any hope to the many family members campaigning for the truth to be revealed after poor treatment and even the deaths of their loved ones – in many cases, campaigning for years.

The Week publication ( provides a summary of all the week’s news, giving multiple comments and opinions from the daily newspapers.  It was interesting to read what were some of the national newspapers’ journalists’ conclusions, journalists who are considered to be articulate, intelligent people.

One journalist reminded her readers of the terrible harm done to staff raising concerns about practices and conditions that subsequently cost patients’ lives.

These cruel actions taken against staff are depressing, distressing and of course disastrous for the patients, who are the defenseless recipients of poor care and management.

Sir Robert’s 20 recommendations are described as rather timid by one reporter who suggests that sacking bad managers would send a stronger message.  Here here!  Accountability for these unlawful actions is the word that springs to my mind. (These managers usually  ignore employment law practices designed to protect staff - and employers.)

The final comment reported by Andrew Smith in the Guardian ( ) describes the number, style and reward for managers as causing them to be distanced psychologically from the workforce, acting defensively when challenged or scrutinised.  He suggested they are running the organisations for their own benefit.

Absolutely!  But what is to be done about them when the managers protect one another and tell horrendous lies to cover up, with the help of solicitors who fight their corner?
Taxpayers, wake up! 


Friday, 23 January 2015

Whistleblowing and psychological safety

The Psychologist’ is the journal for the British Psychological Society (BPS).  Its strapline is ‘promoting excellence in psychology’.  In its September 2014 issue, in the Letters page, Dr Joanna Wilde, Chair of the BPS Working Party on Work and Health, wrote to say that her group were ‘researching whistleblowing and psychological safety in light of the recently reported catastrophic failures in organisations’.

What is already known, she wrote, is that although they haven’t researched the healthcare sector, research in other similar sectors is that whistleblowing results in very negative consequences with 75% of respondents reporting a move to dismiss them.  Nearly all reported experiencing being bullied after raising a concern.

That is so often a precursor to suspension for many of the people who contact .

There is a substantial body of research into group processes Dr Wilde wrote, so that whistleblowing can be conceptualised as a ‘form of psychological martyrdom or suicide.  For those who do not speak, it is experienced as a form of treachery, which has always been the last crime to have the death penalty removed’.

That is a brilliant description of the effect of whistleblowing for the whistleblower, who may well not even think of themselves as such but who feel they cannot continue to remain silent in the face of what is happening to their patients. 

Dr Wilde identifies predictors of low psychological safety including deficiencies in leadership behaviours and evidence of tolerance for bullying.

Again this strikes a chord and hopefully the research of the Working Party will provide further evidence to show that work needs to start at the other end of the process ie with the behaviours and accountability of managers, rather than threatening staff if they fail to raise concerns.

Thank you Dr Wilde.  We wish you every success. 

If you wish to contribute to Dr Wilde’s research, her email address is

She is also a member of the Founders’ Network,
‘a group of representatives from diverse professional and occupational organisations formed to create change within the NHS in order for staff to be able to better care for patients. We were founded in July 2014 on the initiative of Clare Gerarda, Lambeth GP, Medical Director NHS Practitioner Health Programme, and Rex Haigh Medical Psychotherapist and IGA (Institute of Group Analysis) Board Member.
We recognise that there are serious problems with working life in the NHS and are creating a destructive and sometimes toxic environment that threatens the success of the NHS. The absence of an empathic environment destroys the confidence, creativity and health of staff.  The NHS needs to create a fit-for-purpose environment in which it is possible to consistently plan, commission and deliver health care.  
   Taken from

Maybe, along with Patients First ( ) there is light at the end of the tunnel?

Yours hopefully