Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Nurse Labels Workplace 'Toxic'; West Moreton Confirms Five Complaints Alleging Bullying Lodged since September

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Nurse Labels Workplace 'Toxic'; West Moreton Confirms Five Complaints Alleging Bullying Lodged since September

Article excerpt

HELEN

SPELITIS

helen.spelitis@qt.com.au

A DESPERATE and terrified nurse has spoken out to expose a culture of bullying and harassment within the mental health unit at Ipswich Hospital.

The whistleblower, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal, says bullying, intimidation, and threats between staff are rife, along with rude and at times abusive treatment of patients by nurses.

The QT has seen internal emails from West Moreton Hospital and Health Service which show management has been aware of significant issues within the mental health unit for at least 14 months.

West Moreton has confirmed that five formal complaints alleging bullying and harassment regarding the Adult Mental Health Unit have been lodged since September.

Four have been finalised and one is in the process of being finalised, the health service says.

The service also says it has taken steps to address problems, highlighted by other medical staff within the hospital, including working with staff and promoting staff development.

In a recent document - seen by the QT- addressed to the Queensland Nurses Union, a senior West Moreton staff member acknowledged there were broader issues within the unit, which were being worked through.

The whistleblower said they were not aware of attempts to improve the culture and if action was taken, it had failed.

The nurse described an escalating "toxic work environment" where many staff were "suffering in silence" through extreme bullying including name calling and abusive language.

Those claims have been supported by second mental health nurse who works outside the Adult Mental Health Unit.

Three other non-nursing West Moreton staff members supported claims of bullying and intimidation tactics.

None of these were willing to be named, for fear of reprisal.

"I've been bullied and harassed to the extreme," the whistleblower said.

"I feel like I've lost the plot and it has made me want to leave the profession."

The whistleblower said staffed were falsely being accused of wrongdoing.

"There have been many complaints to HR, and the union, but no one is listening and the torture continues," they said. …

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