Statement on allegations around bullying and patient safety at University Hospitals Birmingham

December 2, 2022

The allegations around bullying and patient safety at University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) made by former and current UHB staff in the report by Newsnight and BBC Midlands Today are extremely worrying and it is imperative they are investigated seriously, thoroughly and urgently.


As concerns about the organizational culture at UHB were central to the BBC report, any investigation must be both transparent and independent if it is to command the confidence of patients and staff.  


Although we acknowledge the significant work taking place across the whole Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care System (BSol ICS) to reduce the Covid backlog, there must be a laser-like focus on addressing the waiting times for cancer treatment and other areas of poor performance, which we highlighted in the BBC report. These are issues Healthwatch has consistently raised with UHB in the past and will do so again immediately with the new Interim Chair.  


We also recognize the impact that years of national underinvestment in services and workforce planning are now having both at UHB and throughout the NHS. Healthwatch Birmingham and Healthwatch Solihull want clear details of the action NHS England will be taking to address the issues UHB is facing and we will be working with local MPs to make representations to Government.


While the feedback we have received from patients underlines the importance of addressing problems at UHB, they regularly also tell us how grateful they are for the dedication and professionalism of frontline staff who deliver exceptional care – often under intense pressure. These staff deserve our thanks and support.  


To fulfil our statutory duty to scrutinize NHS services in Birmingham and Solihull, we need local residents to share their experiences of services with us, so we can identify where progress is being made and where further improvements are needed. This will enable us to work with services, including UHB, effectively to make the changes patients need and hold those in power accountable for delivering the care people deserve.


– Richard Burden, Chair, Healthwatch Birmingham and Healthwatch Solihull

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