Murrumbidgee Local Health District strongly refutes claims of bullying at Leeton District Hospital

A LEETON nurse choked back tears when describing what she feels is a culture of bullying at the town’s hospital, but this claim has been strongly denied. 

The Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) said bullying was never tolerated at the Leeton District Hospital, but Mary Barraclough disagrees. 

Mrs Barraclough believes she was unfairly dismissed, as well as being bullied by upper management. 

After being employed as a registered nurse with both Leeton and Griffith health services since 1971, Mrs Barraclough was subject to an investigation relating to a patient incident. As a result of this she said she was bullied.

“I understand in that situation with the patient I was in the wrong, but I was never given any proper feedback,” Mrs Barraclough said. “I put my hand up, I should have reported this incident.

“It’s just been terrible. I’ve lost so much weight and I’m not motivated. This was fixable. The girls up there are walking on egg shells, but they will never say anything because they need their jobs.”

She has taken her dismissal to the Industrial Relations Commissioner and said her reports of bullying to human resources hadn’t had any response. 

That resulted in a proposal for her to receive three months salary, but she has not signed the settlement. 

MLHD director of nursing and midwifery Karen Cairney said while she was unable to comment on individual staff matters, bullying was never tolerated by the health service. 

“Patient safety and care is a priority for MLHD and we will always take prompt action when concerns are raised by patients, staff and the community,” she said. 

“MLHD expects nursing staff to work to their professional registration standards and the procedures of NSW Health and the Local Health District.

“No staff members have been wrongfully terminated and no complaints have been received regarding the hospital manager. 

“Bullying is not tolerated under any circumstance and all issues raised are treated seriously and acted on promptly.”

Mrs Barraclough remains a registered nurse, but was unsure what the future held for her. 

“They did try to take my registration off me as well, but I’m still registered,” she said. 

“I’ll never go back there. I just thought it was time someone stood up and said something.”

NSW Health has a mandatory policy directive, Bullying Prevention and Management of Workplace Bullying in NSW Health

The aim of this is to help managers fulfil their obligations to eliminate or minimise the risk of bullying and provides staff with information about their rights and obligations when they make a complaint. 

The Industrial Relations Commission was unable to comment as the issue remain unresolved regarding the settlement. 

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