WOMEN working for the ambulance service responsible for patients in West Kent were ‘hounded for sexual favours’ in return for career progression, a report has revealed.
Commissioned in February when allegations of a serious bullying culture first emerged, the report into the South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb) lays bare the scale of the problem.
The confidential survey of 2,000 employees found 42 per cent said they had been exposed to bullying at the organisation.
The report documents ‘overt and covert sexualised behaviour’ throughout the organisation which was ‘embedded’ within management.
Female staff bore the brunt and often felt ‘demeaned’ by highly sexualised gazing in front of colleagues and even patients, the study notes.
It adds: “Female staff talked about sexual favours being sought in return for career progression whilst others were hounded by managers seeking sexual favours for personal reasons. “Some female respondents talked about ‘sexual predators’ among male colleagues who ‘groomed students’ for sexualised ends. Some managers felt there was a history of comments being turned to lewd remarks but slowly these were being addressed.”
The sheer scale of the problem shocked the researchers. Those analysing the data were ‘extremely distressed to hear of the experiences of several female Secamb employees’, the report states.
It also found half of all respondents said they had been treated in ‘disrespectful or rude way’, while just under a third had felt ‘threatened and intimidated’.
Secamb Chief Executive Daren Mochrie, appointed in April last year, said he was ‘truly disappointed and upset’ by the findings of the survey.