WorkSafe's probe of Nelson Marlborough DHB faces criticism: report

Health worker says report's lack of enforcement action felt like 'having the knife twist'

WorkSafe's probe of Nelson Marlborough DHB faces criticism: report

The WorkSafe report that investigated the workplace culture at the Nelson-Marlborough District Health Board (NMDHB) is facing criticism from a health worker who claims that she was bullied by the former manager, according to reports.

The NMDHB became the subject of a WorkSafe probe following the death of addition services clinician Andrew Walker, where the investigation found a "very poor workplace culture" after hearing about reported cases of bullying in the workplace by its former manager, among others.

Despite its findings, WorkSafe did not order enforcement action against the NMDHB, attributing it to the steps carried out by the organisation to address the issues brought up.

'Meaningless' investigation

But a health worker who was among the employees previously complaining against the former manager criticised the WorkSafe's investigation, the New Zealand Herald reported.

The employee slammed the report as a "meaningless, box-ticking exercise" and said WorkSafe's decision felt like "having the knife twisted."

The employee told the New Zealand Herald that her job became difficult after she "crossed swords" with the manager, who made her out to be a liar and bullied her from a "caseload overload."

She only learned that she wasn't the only one victimised by her former manager after getting in touch with a former colleague, according to the Herald report.

"Everyone just felt incredible powerless," she told the news outlet, adding that she reached out to the DHB's HR, CEO, and the union to no avail.

According to the employee, the district health board also knew that the manager was a problem, but still "supported" the individual better than the staff working for the service over the years.

It made her consider leaving her job, she said.

Lexie O'Shea, Nelson Marlborough group director of operations, didn't comment on the allegations citing privacy reasons over individual employment matters.

O'Shea previously said they made internal changes following the WorkSafe investigation, while underscoring their commitment to a bullying-free workplace.

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