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'Bullying' management style claimed

A psychologist wept today as she told an employment tribunal she thought about suicide because of bullying she allegedly suffered at work.

Dr Hayley Dare has taken a case against West London Mental Health NHS Trust claiming she suffered detriment after whistleblowing over alleged poor patient care and bullying of staff.

Watford Employment Tribunal was told in her witness statement that the trust is one of the largest mental health trusts in the country, and provides secure and specialist mental health care.

Its responsibilities range from high secure Broadmoor to low secure units and local services.

Dr Dare started working for the Trust in 2000, and was appointed clinical head of the women's forensic directorate in 2011.

She had reservations about applying for the job because of an alleged long history of staff being bullied, she says in her statement.

She became increasingly concerned about patient care and staff welfare and decided to whistleblow.

She told the hearing: "There was a very clear cohort of individuals who engaged in a bullying style of management."

Dr Dare said she had a meeting with chief executive Steve Shrubb in March 2013, where she raised her concerns in a "protected disclosure".

She said: "I had had very serious clinical concerns for a while. I was disturbed by the lack of response I was getting from my managers, and very concerned that there would be a death within the service."

Dr Dare says in her witness statement that her health suffered around Christmas 2013 after her whistleblowing did not bring positive results from her point of view.

She says: "I was acutely aware at this stage that not only had the Trust failed to investigate the concerns I had raised about poor patient care and safety, I was being increasingly targeted as a consequence of whistleblowing."

She told the hearing that the situation caused her to suffer from depression, anxiety and panic attacks.

She said: "I was generally unable to function. I had thoughts that my children would be better off without me."

At that point she wept and the hearing was briefly adjourned.

When it restarted she said: "I suffered detriment by raising complaints about bullying and harassment and poor patient care."

The hearing was adjourned until 10am tomorrow, when Dr Dare will continue giving evidence.

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