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Kent's air ambulance chief's bullying concerns before resignation

Kent’s air ambulance chief executive has quit the trust amid claims of bullying while workers say they “live in fear”.

Adrian Bell’s resignation was announced by the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Trust last month following eight years as he takes up a similar position with the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.

He has since been replaced by Michael Docherty who has been brought in on an interim basis.

The Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance
The Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance

However, there have been claims that Mr Bell was forced out as he looked to expose bullying at the trust.

The KSSAAT confirmed concerns were raised before an independent report found that no intentional bullying had taken place.

An anonymous worker said they and their colleagues “live in fear” suggesting Mr Bell was made to resign with immediate effect.

Mr Bell was described as the “most respected and brilliant CEO in the charity sector” while also suggesting staff morale was at an all-time low. They also predicted other senior members of staff are likely to leave in the future.

The worker, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “The place is in chaos. It is a disgrace

“We live in fear. This is serious. The charity’s future is at stake.”

Chief executive Adrian Bell, left, resigned from his position last month
Chief executive Adrian Bell, left, resigned from his position last month

Concerns were first raised by Mr Bell in April 2018 and the issue was investigated by a UK law firm.

In their report they concluded that no intentional bullying had taken place but a number of recommendations were made for the charity to undertake including mediation with the small number of staff Mr Bell suggested he represented.

Helen Bowcock, chair of the board of trustees, said: “The trustees acted swiftly on receipt of a concern outlined by Adrian Bell in late April 2018.

“We retained an independent assessor, informed the Charity Commission and on receipt of the assessor’s report accepted its findings and approved its recommendations for immediate action.

“At the same time, we gather that Adrian Bell sought to become the new CEO of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, a position first advertised in January 2018.

“We would like to thank Adrian for the good work that he has done for the charity over the last eight years and wish him all the best as he takes up this role much closer to home.

“Meanwhile the Board of Trustees will support the KSSAAT team in achieving world class research, pre-hospital care and impressive life-saving clinical outcomes for the 4.7 million people across 3,600 square miles in Kent, Surrey and Sussex. We are proud of our work and are very focused on saving more lives.”

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