Rise in abuse against BAME staff at Norfolk hospital, meeting hears

QEH file pic

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King;s Lynn is set to stage its annual members meeting - Credit: QEH

Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) staff at a Norfolk hospital have seen a rise in abuse from patients and the public, a meeting heard.

The employees at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in King's Lynn have reported a rise in abuse from patients, the latest figures reveal.

A report to the QEH trust board of directors shows that white staff members experienced a reduction in abuse from patients, their families and the public.

The level of BAME staff experiencing abuse increased from 34pc in 2019 to 36.9pc in 2020, versus 29.4pc in 2019 to 27.7pc in 2020 for their white colleagues.

BAME staff also reported a rise in discrimination from managers and colleagues, up to 18.7pc in 2020, compared to 17.2pc in 2019 and 16.8pc in 2018.

This compares to 7.5pc (2019) and 6.6pc (2020) for white colleagues. 

Just half of the staff who experienced bullying, harassment or abuse said they reported it.

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At a board meeting on Tuesday, Jo Humphries, director of people at the QEH, described it as a “worrying statistic”.

She said: “There's clearly a lot more work that we need to do in helping to support patients when they're coming into the hospital, where 25pc of our workforce are BAME.

"It’s a lot higher than in the community we serve at 3.5pc but there's still no excuse for bullying and harassment of our staff and we will continue to adopt a no tolerance approach on that.” 

QEH chair Steve Barnett, who has written to MPs appealing for them to support the case for a new hos

QEH chair Steve Barnett - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Steve Barnett, the chairman of the trust, said he wanted to know what other hospitals were doing and if there was anything they could learn from them. 

Medical director, Dr Frankie Swords, said: "Our medical staff is 67pc BAME and nationally we know that BAME medical staff are more likely to have complaints.

"It's really very sad to see that we have this continued unacceptably high rate of bullying of our staff by patients.” 

Dr Frankie Swords, medical director at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn, says A&E attendance i

Dr Frankie Swords, medical director at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn - Credit: Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Mr Barnett said it could not just be a case of noting the report and he was promised an action plan would be presented to the trust.

What's the situation like at the QEH?

The meeting also heard figures from August 2021, which reflected the strain the hospital, and wider NHS, faces.

  • Of the 6,979 patients to attend A&E, 2,188, almost a third, had to wait more than four hours - a performance of 68.6pc against a 95pc target.
  • 42.5pc of ambulance handovers took place within 15 minutes against a target of 48.81pc.
  • 15.81pc of ambulance handovers took longer than an hour.
  • Nine patients had to wait more than 12 hours from decision to admit to admission - five were waiting inpatient beds and four mental health.
  • 17,543 patients were on the waiting list for elective care, of which 6,242 had waited for more than 18 weeks from referral
  • The two week wait from referral to first outpatient appointment for cancer patients was 93.2pc against a standard of 93pc. 

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