NHS: Sexual Harassment

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 7th October 2019.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

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

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

Employers are responsible for protecting their staff from sexual harassment by members of the public or other staff members. 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.

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. Now in its third year, one of the “call to action” priorities is tackling sexual harassment.

The interim NHS People Plan, published on 3 June 2019, committed to developing 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. This is expected to be published, alongside the final NHS People Plan, later this year.

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