Bullying and harassment costs health service €700,000 since 2012

Payouts from HSE and State Claims Agency included sexual harassment claims

Health service managers have received training in managing conflict and preventing conflict escalating, the HSE said.

Health service managers have received training in managing conflict and preventing conflict escalating, the HSE said.

 

Bullying and harassment claims have prompted payouts totalling more than €700,000 over the past five years, according to new figures from the Health Service Executive.

The HSE paid out €53,000 to settle bullying, harassment and sexual harassment claims in 2012 and €8,296 in 2016. No monies were paid out in the intervening years.

In addition, the State Claims Agency, which handles processes compensation payments for personal injury claims in the public health service, made payments totalling €647,457 between 2012 and 2016.

The information was provided by the HSE to Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins after he asked Minister for Health Simon Harris whether anti-bullying policies were in place in the health service, and how much compensations had been paid out for bullying claims.

Dignity and respect

In a response to Mr Collins, the HSE said it recognised the right of all employees to be treated with dignity and respect and was committed to the provision of a safe working environment.

Sexual harassment and harassment are covered by a dignity at work policy for the health service, agreed with trade unions representing health service staff, which stresses the need for a preventative approach.

Health service managers have received training in managing conflict and preventing conflict escalating, it said. In addition, in-depth training interventions were being provided in six sites – Beaumont, Cavan, Sligo and Cork hospitals, and two community healthcare areas – and the learning from this pilot would be rolled out in a national programme.

A “Respect Charter” was recently signed by the HSE and the Irish Medical Organisation to deal with the identified problem of bullying and undermining behaviour experienced by junior doctors.