TRADE union representatives were escorted off the St Mary’s Hospital site, after attempting to speak with staff.

Representatives from GMB said they had been asked by members and concerned staff to attend the St Mary’s Hospital to discuss bullying and harassment at the trust, organisational issues, high workloads and staffing shortages.

They said three GMB officials were blocked and prevented from talking to any members of staff and from giving out information and a staff survey by on-site security.

The officials were then escorted off the hospital site.

However, the Isle of Wight NHS Trust said complaints were raised about the ‘assertive approach’ GMB representatives took while on site, with staff concerned they were attempting to have conversations with them while they were caring for patients.

GMB regional organiser Adrian Baker said: “Staff are still feeling the pressure from being over worked and under resourced, while seeing and receiving less support and training on an on-going basis.

“Bullying is endemic and growing at the trust. Staff are so fed up with complaints either not being taken seriously or even believed, that when it is investigated, so many obstacles and issues are put in front of those raising complaints them. This ends up with staff feeling even more bullied, ostracised and alone for doing so. So they called the GMB to help and step in.

“Unfortunately for them they’ve picked the wrong union to try such heavy handed bullying tactics with.”

The Isle of Wight NHS Trust said the GMB had yet to ask to be formally recognised by the trust.

Julie Pennycook, director of human resources and organisational development at Isle of Wight NHS Trust said: “We make facilities available to a range of recognised unions and professional bodies for local and regional representatives working together to participate in meetings and negotiations on terms and conditions.

“With our support they hold awareness raising activities around trust buildings and we support their communication with their members in a variety of ways.

“It is important to us that staff are appropriately represented and representatives are appropriately supported. However union and professional body activities cannot be allowed to interfere with patient care and we have to respond to concerns raised with us by staff.

“While I am very happy to meet with representatives from the GMB they have not, as yet, formally asked to be recognised by the trust. Nor were they willing last week to tell us how many of our staff they represent.

“At the request of our staff, the trust’s security staff attempted to discuss the issue with the representatives but when the representatives would not amend their behaviour Hampshire Police were asked to intervene.

“We do not want a confrontational relationship with the GMB and we would encourage them to develop a good working relationship with the other unions and professional bodies.

“We are doing everything we can to change the culture, eliminate bullying and encourage an atmosphere in which staff feel able to speak up.”