8 - LB on line photoLynne Bowers is Programme Manager at Health Education West Midlands, and is currently seconded part-time to the NHS Leadership Academy, developing and testing the new Mary Seacole Programme.

Lynne leads on CEO Development, the National Programmes, including Core Programmes, The Nye Bevan, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, Mary Seacole and Edward Jenner Programmes, Senior Systems Leaders Programme and the Top Leaders Programme.

Lynne is also an International speaker and a published author.

I identified that there was a need to address endemic bullying in the NHS, so I created a collection of research and information on how we could tackle bullying within the NHS. I researched best practice, sources of help and support and I collated case studies.

My mentees, The NHS Leadership Academy Mary Seacole Programme and The Francis Inquiries influenced me to make this change. The mentees have survived intolerable pressures, and so I asked them whether I could share their stories anonymously.

I also undertook a meta-analysis of international publications across Health and other organisations. I approached National Thought Leaders for their thoughts on bullying and I collected articles and blogs written by National Thought Leaders; Twitter was very useful here. I then presented my findings within organisations and contributed to the Freedom to Speak Up Review.

The anecdotal evidence is that as a result of this work, people tell me they ‘see things differently’; ‘the atmosphere feels different’; ‘I am empowered’; ‘ I see/feel/ hear changes in my line manager’s approach’; ‘This will not define me – I am moving forward’; ‘You are inspiring’ *blushes* (Freedom to Speak Up Review).

The outcome of my research was much better than expected. My mentees, partner colleagues and I, as a result of this work, are more able to provide effective targeted advice. National Thought Leaders were very supportive and the response from mentees and partner colleagues was outstanding.

Has this research resulted in a change in the culture of the organisation? I believe so and I want to continue to work on improving culture and context in the NHS.

2017-07-09T14:12:45+00:00 03 March 2015Lynne BowersCategories: 100 Days of Change11 Comments

About the Author:

Colorectal/Stoma Care Nurse for 20 years. Now working as Head of Education Ostomy Dvision Coloplast Ltd. supporting Nurse Specialists demonstrate their value via Apollonursingresource.com . Love photography and have developed AcademyOfFabulousArtStuff.com a not for profit venture which is all about having fun with photography, painting and drawing to raise money for charity.


  1. Michael Gribben 4 March 2015 at 7:58 am

    Excellent work Lynne and good research. How do we put it in to practice though? How do we highlight offenders and root them out. Are there many spurious claims of bullying. It has always been a problem in the Ambulance Service with ineffective managers (normally blokes),finding reason to pester and intimidate new employees (normally young women). Fortunately they are sometimes dealt with but still allowed to have acquired a managerial position in the first place. We need to stop these people getting positions of power over others. Well done again.

  2. Teresa Jude 4 March 2015 at 1:11 pm

    I am keen to learn anything about bullying and inappropiate behaviours in the NHS and what can be done to improve things. I work as a Trust mediator and am only too aware from this and my own personal experiences of a need for behaviours within our organisation to be looked at to help improve working relationships. I’d be grateful if you would forward to me any reports or research to do with bullying.

    Many thanks


    Teresa Jude

  3. Lynne Bowers 4 March 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Hi Michael – happy to discuss

  4. Lynne Bowers 4 March 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Hi Teresa – happy to discuss

  5. Jayne Smalley 11 March 2015 at 5:33 am

    It was great to be informed of your work since I would like to develop a support service for students that are experiencing behaviours from others,which impact on their performance, ability to achieve their best and possibly contributes to drop-out rates (sadly).
    If you know of such services, online links to similar support services could you let me know. I understand educational establishments offer support to students but often because it is ‘close-to-home’ some students do not access such support.

  6. sandra winters 11 March 2015 at 8:46 am

    Hi Lynne as The Head of Health and Wellbeing for the staff of NHS England I would be delighted to discuss with you this work and how you feel it could be applied into the workplace?
    Great Change Day Article
    I look Forward to hearing from you
    Kind Regards
    [email protected]

  7. Lynne Bowers 12 March 2015 at 11:18 am

    Hi Jayne
    Happy to discuss

  8. Symone Campbell 16 March 2015 at 12:55 pm

    Great point made Michael. However it sounds as though, from the you comment you made about “ineffective managers (normally blokes)finding reason to pester and intimidate new employees (normally young women)”, that this could also be an equality issue.
    I would also have to question what training is given to these “ineffective” managers to help increase and improve their awareness and communication surrounding these issues?

  9. anne higgins 14 July 2015 at 12:37 pm

    I am pleased you feel so positive, however this is far from my experience. I have been chased out of the nhs since my initial consultation was cancelled.

  10. birdie 25 March 2016 at 1:50 am


    I’ve stumbled on this by chance.
    I’ve been in the NHS for some years as a senior manager, but never have I felt so excluded, isolated and ignored than I am now.
    After only a few weeks in post, despite mtg requests and emails ignored, I’ve been told I don’t listen, been accused of working outside of my remit and openly embarrassed on group emails.
    I’m currently off sick with stress and have little desire to return.
    In a few short weeks I have gone from being a confident, high performing ops mgr to being the shell of a woman, leader and mgr and fear my career has effectively been tarnished as a result.

    It saddens me that play ground semantics are the crux of the problem and the reason for others to feel powerful, especially when it is positively re-enforced by the recipient being absent.

    I wish you continued success in trying to eradicate this damaging culture and making effective lasting change.

  11. ChangeFairy 29 March 2016 at 6:45 pm

    As a patient, change professional and psychology student I am heartened to see this initiative and wonder what has come of it?

    I can imagine in a system like the NHS, given its size and complexity and also current political pressure it would be especially difficult for managers – pressure from both sides. Do remember you save, extend and give lives even if your work isn’t clinical. Hope that gives some comfort.

    Otherwise I need some fairy dust for a patient initiated service improvement.

Leave A Comment

This site uses cookies. Find out more about this site’s cookies.