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Staff working for Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) have once again shared their stories of abusive behaviour as part of the Trust’s ongoing ‘No Excuses’ campaign, with a particular focus on racist and sexual abuse.

The campaign, launched in 2022, was put in place following concerns that aggressive behaviour towards OUH staff was increasing. In addition to the public-facing campaign where people were reminded that the Trust has a zero-tolerance approach to aggressive and abusive behaviour, there has also been an ongoing internal campaign complete with a multidisciplinary working group, tailored guidance documents for staff when dealing with abusive behaviour, and additional support from colleagues.

As the next step of the campaign, staff are sharing their stories of abusive and aggressive behaviour, especially around incidents of racist and sexual abuse.

Paula Gardner, Interim Chief Nursing Officer at OUH, said: “The health, wellbeing, and safety of our staff is of absolute importance to us. All our staff should feel safe and free from abuse at work. Abuse takes several forms, and we know from speaking to our staff that it’s not always overt displays of aggression or violence that have the biggest impact – the smaller, day-to-day incidents can have a long-lasting effect.

“We are committed as a Trust to making OUH a safe place to work, and to making our staff’s working lives better. The diversity of our OneTeamOneOUH is one of is greatest strengths and we will not tolerate any racist abuse. We have also signed up to the national Sexual Safety in Healthcare Charter, which was launched following concerns about an escalation of sexual abuse in the NHS. Here at OUH, we have signed up to this charter in a demonstration of our commitment to a zero-tolerance approach to any unwanted, inappropriate, or harmful sexual behaviours towards our people.

Paula continued: “While our campaign has been well-received, we know that this behaviour is an ongoing issue – especially in light of ongoing industrial action over the past year. We will do all that we can to support and care for our staff – and we hope these stories give people pause and realise the impact that abusive behaviour can have.”