Widespread transgressive behavior withing Groningen ambulance service
There is structural transgressive behavior within Ambulance Care Groningen, research agency Het Zuiderlicht concluded after speaking with 80 current and former employees. They report behavior like bullying, gossip, sexual harassment, and stalking, NOS reports.
Het Zuiderlicht launched an investigation into the ambulance service after Dagblad van het Noorden reported about the unhealthy work culture in the organization last year.
The researchers concluded that the organization has a culture of fear and that at least a quarter of its staff are dissatisfied with their working conditions. But the management systematically covered up or trivialized any reports about problems. The number of Ambulance Care Groningen employees applying for psychological help increased rapidly - from six in 2020 to 30 last year.
The researchers said transgressive behavior occurs on the work floor and between the head office and the employees. They found problems in all layers of the organization. And the issues are putting pressure on the quality of care. The researchers spoke of a “wider neglect of business activities.”
According to the researchers, the organization “has failed to make desirable and undesirable behavior publicly discussable and to make agreements about this with each other.” The agency advocates “a broad cultural intervention” to break through the current work culture.
Interim director Jack Thiadens does not dispute the problems with the organization’s culture. “In the three weeks that I have been here, I have felt that myself. I would like to see a safe working atmosphere. There is a lack of a strong moral compass here, which you should be able to expect from a healthcare organization. It is clear that there have been mistakes in all layers of the organization,” he said. Thaidens will have an improvement plan on the table within six weeks.
Thaidens did dispute the researchers' findings that the work culture problems were affecting the quality of care the ambulance service provides. “The residents of Groningen are helped very professionally by our people,” he said.