A high-security hospital holding some of Scotland’s most notorious criminals is at the center of bullying and sexual harassment claims.
An inquiry was launched at the State Hospital in Carstairs following whistleblowing claims against two male nurse managers by a female staff member.
The woman, a psychiatric nurse, told the inquiry one of the men sexually harassed her while he was her boss – bombarding her with crude comments and forcing her on to his lap.
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The woman alleged she was pushed out of her job by the men’s bullying campaign and she was so tormented she attempted suicide.
A number of witnesses also told the ongoing inquiry of a widespread bullying culture at the hospital where at least two nurses have tried to take their own life in the last two years.
The inquiry heard claims staff were victimized for being off sick and a “boys’ club” mentality among certain senior staff left nurses too terrified to speak up.
The woman lodged her complaints last summer and the hospital drafted in external investigators and HR experts Kenny Small and Ruth Hibbert of NHS Lanarkshire.
The complainant claimed the man she accuses of harassment made sexual innuendo about her appearance, telling how good her bottom looked.
She said he would make crude suggestions and propositioned her asking if she wanted to come home with him.
It is also claimed he would rub his thighs and tell her to sit on his knee and on one occasion he pulled her on to his lap when they were alone in an office.
She also alleges the other male manager who became her boss after a transfer was aggressive and threatened he could harm her career.
There were allegations he would publicly berate staff and dismiss them as being “fu**ing stupid” and they lived in fear if they made a mistake.
It was claimed if a nurse was ill, he would stalk them on social media to check if they were faking it.
Some staff claimed he was power crazed and would change nurses’ shifts to be vindictive.
It was also claimed he voiced his displeasure when nurses became pregnant.
Staff at the maximum security hospital told the inquiry they work in a pressure cooker environment while caring for some of the most dangerous patients in Scotland.
Carstairs employs 700 staff to care for about 125 patients.
About a quarter of the 110 male patients at Carstairs have been killed and been sent to the hospital because they were not fit to stand trial or be in the general prison population.
The hospital has been at the center of a number of allegations by staff in the past with 29 bullying complaints lodged over a period of five years to 2015.
Last September this paper revealed whistleblowers’ claims that a recruitment crisis at Carstairs was putting workers and patients at risk.
Staff said manning levels were dangerously low.
Last night, a spokesman for the hospital said it would not comment.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.