Statement on Sunday Times article
Statement from NHS Blood and Transplant Chair Peter Wyman over allegations of bullying and racism within NHS Blood and Transplant.
“One of our organisational priorities is to tackle health inequalities. To do this we need to attract a more ethnically diverse donor base so the NHS can improve the lives of the thousands of patients who don’t yet receive the treatment or care that they need.
"I cannot overstate the importance we place in ensuring we have a strong, positive and inclusive culture so we can serve the public and patients who need us.
“Issues of racism and bullying came to light in parts of our organisation two years ago after an in-depth staff listening exercise. We’ve moved on a lot in the past two years. Our actions have included providing a safe way for staff to raise and discuss issues by appointing a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, improving recruitment processes to be more inclusive, matured how we manage conflict and grievances and refreshing our code of conduct so we all know the behaviours that are expected of us. We continue to measure progress through ongoing staff engagement.
“We are making progress but like every good organisation we should always be challenging ourselves to do even better. In particular, I want to ensure we have a culture that enables each of us to be our best, that encourages everyone to speak up without fear or favour if they see something wrong or something which might be done better. I want a culture where everyone is valued for who they are and what they contribute.
"There can be no place for any form of discrimination, bullying or harassment.”
Announcement to staff from Wendy Clark, Interim Chief Executive Officer
"There is no place in our organisation for any type of racist behaviour and I would like to apologise to you on behalf of the organisation for any distress caused by this report or as a result of discrimination, bullying or harassment at NHS Blood and Transplant. Reading about this will be especially hurtful to those who have experienced racist behaviours whether in the workplace or elsewhere.
"I really care that NHSBT is a great place to work and I really care that you can all come to work knowing you can be yourself irrespective of your background. In response, we are making sure people know NHSBT is working towards eliminating racism with support from the overwhelming majority of our staff. A shared commitment to create an environment where everyone feels safe and supported to do their best work is one of my top priorities.
"I and my executive colleagues are determined that we will have a zero-tolerance approach to racism, discrimination, bullying and harassment, we will take action against anybody who’s behaviour falls against the standards we expect.
"I am unable to comment on some of the specific allegations in the report as they are part of an ongoing tribunal process. It would be prejudicial to proceedings if NHSBT were to comment on grievances brought by individuals. It’s also important that I can assure you that we will treat any grievances that are raised with the expected confidentially.
"I would like to take this opportunity to say how grateful I am for the work of our Equality Diversity and Inclusion Council, which includes our staff networks and staff side unions, who have shared staff stories with us. Providing these insights is essential to advancing and enhancing our anti-racism and inclusion work.
"Over the last two years our actions have included providing a safe way for staff to raise and discuss issues by appointing a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, matured how we manage conflict and grievances, improved recruitment processes to be more inclusive, and refreshed our code of conduct so we all know the behaviours that are expected of us. We continue to measure progress through ongoing staff engagement.
"Our expanded Diversity and Inclusion team are playing a critical role in supporting leaders to design inclusive operational plans and working with staff networks and staff side unions to identify hotspots of concern, as well as to celebrate the year-round contributions our diverse workforce makes to saving lives.
"I know there is more we need to do and I’d really like to hear from you on Yammer, on email or in person as I visit as many places as I can over the next few weeks and months, on how we can be even better.
"Chair Peter Wyman and I will be hosting an all staff call to answer questions and I will be communicating with you regularly so you can keep up to date with what I’m doing."