NHS is being blighted by toxic workplace culture, says DAUK’s Dr Amy Attwater in Wales Online

DAUK’s Dr Amy Attwater says in Wales Online that the NHS is being blighted by a toxic workplace culture – which is pushing staff to the brink.

Dr Attwater said “her work made her go from a happy and outgoing person to withdrawn and experiencing panic attacks.” She also alleges that bullying and harassment are “huge issues” in the NHS.

Amy said: “I got to the point where I was completely burned out. I called into work one morning hysterical as I was suicidal about going in.

“It made me question myself and my ability to care for patients. I had been a doctor for 10 years – I knew what I was doing. I have a lot of colleagues who want to talk about how badly they were bullied but they are scared to.”

Amy said: “I have always been an A&E doctor, always at the frontline where the pressure is highest and we feel that. We are so overwhelmed, we are nowhere near giving patients the care they deserve.


“This wouldn’t be the case if we didn’t have underfunding. I have heard stories about doctors using cupboards to examine a patient’s testicles or putting a sheet around the patient in public areas to examine their chest.

“You have doctors worrying they might have made a mistake due to the sheer volume of patients they are seeing.” Amy also claims NHS staff get “no control” over their time off – with one doctor having to work her wedding night. 

She said: “I know one colleague who wasn’t allowed time off for their own wedding and ended up working the night shift of their special day. They take full advantage of our sense of duty and treat us like we are never off duty.”

Amy believes that the NHS needs wide reform from top to bottom and the Government needs to introduce a short, medium and long-term plan. She said: “We need a huge cash injection in social care so we can stop blocking beds and get a good patient flow.

“At a trust level, we need far more guidance in regard to racism and misogyny. We need basic human factor training of how to look after people, it is crazy we go into this caring speciality but nobody is caring for NHS staff themselves.

“We need to also be looking at pay restoration. I know doctors in London who are using food banks. They expect us to give so much but they give us nothing in return.”

Amy also says she has also spoken to a trainee doctor who raised claims about being harassed by another member of staff. The trainee alleged the worker made unwanted, “lascivious comments” about them while on shift.

Screenshots of messages supposedly from the trainee show it made them feel “very uncomfortable”. Amy is involved with the Doctors’ Association UK, which is run by frontline doctors.” 

Read the full article here.