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Zero tolerance

New guidance is available to help stamp out bullying within the NHS, aimed at helping trusts differentiate between firm and fair management and harassment.

It contains advice for employers on how to identify problems and how to tackle them informally and when a formal complaint has been made. Trusts are encouraged to put in place a policy which should be communicated widely so employees know that bullying and harassment is not tolerated. Julian Topping, head of workplace health and employment at NHS Employers, said: 'The NHS is the largest employer in the UK and it is vital that we ensure it has a culture where bullying and harassment are seen as unacceptable.

This guidance will help trusts to spot potential issues and deal with them quickly before they become a problem.' Bullying at work, as well as being devastating for the individual affected, can have a negative impact on a trust including rising levels of absenteeism, high levels of staff turnover and sickness absence. It is estimated that between one third and one half of all stress-related illness is caused by bullying.

Download a copy of the guidance on the NHS employers website.

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