Ambulance service makes “significant progress” to tackle sexual harassment and bullying

Ambulances parked in a row

The East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) NHS Trust has made significant progress in tackling a culture of sexual harassment, having been under a legally enforceable action plan with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

The EHRC acknowledged the progress made, highlighting the latest Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection report of July 2022.

The report recognised the Trust’s improved responsiveness to incidents of alleged bullying, harassment and discrimination and the EHRC was encouraged by the Trust’s commitment to continues improvement.

Read: New ambulance chief promises to “drive the improvements we want to see”

The action plan – including formal monitoring – had been agreed with the EHRC on 26 April 2021 after a referral from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following the inspection in August 2020.

That report found that the Trust had not done enough to address serious incidents of sexual abuse against both patients and staff.

Since then, the Trust has delivered an action plan to address the concerns identified which has included enhanced training in appropriate behaviours, strengthening of the policies for handling cases of harassment and abuse, and training for managers which has led to stronger action when cases occur.

While formal monitoring ended at the conclusion of the agreement at the end of October, EEAST has committed to making continuous improvements to protect its workforce and ensure a safe and supportive workplace.

Tom Abel, Chief Executive East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST)

“The conclusion of this agreement with the EHRC shows the progress that we have made in tackling long-standing cultural issues at the Trust,”‘ said Tom Abell, chief executive of EEAST.

“I would like to thank all our people for their hard work during a time when our service has been under severe pressure.

“We still have a long way to go, and we are committed to continuing this improvement and building a culture which is a great place to work for everyone.”