NHS: Sexual Harassment

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 11th June 2019.

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Photo of Paul Farrelly Paul Farrelly Labour, Newcastle-under-Lyme

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to tackle sexual harassment of NHS staff by members of the public.

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

Employers are responsible for protecting their staff from sexual harassment by members of the public. Sexual harassment, a form of unlawful discrimination, should not be tolerated under any circumstances so staff who believe they have been subjected to it should report the incident(s). Employers should ensure they fully support these staff and work with them to ensure appropriate legal action is taken against perpetrators.

Our “call to action” to tackle bullying and harassment, led by the NHS Social Partnership Forum, chaired by Departmental ministers, is working with National Health Service system leaders, NHS organisations, staff and unions, to encourage the leadership and culture change required to eradicate bullying and all forms of harassment of our people. Now in its third year, one of the “call to action” priorities is tackling sexual harassment.

The partnership approach being adopted through our “call to action” will be built on by the interim NHS People Plan, published on 3 June 2019 which, over the summer, will develop a new offer for staff, part of which will be how to “create a healthy, inclusive and compassionate culture” including a focus on tackling bullying and harassment”.

The planned interventions and financial commitments from the “up to £2 million per year” allocated in the NHS Long Term Plan to tackling bullying and violence against staff, will be set out in the final NHS People Plan to be published after the Government’s Spending Review later this year.

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