The chairman of the Care Quality Commission (CQC), David Prior has highlighted the "alarming" revelation that a survey of 100,000 NHS staff found one in four had been bullied.
He described the NHS as having a culture that "stigmatises and ostracises" whistleblowers who raise concerns or complaints.
Too often it (the NHS) delights in the ritual humiliation of those deemed to fail, tolerates and institutionalises outdated working practices and old-fashioned hierarchies, and can almost encourage 'managers' and 'clinicians' to occupy opposing camps.
I have worked in the NHS for 12 years. I love it - I am often overwhelmed by the kindness, care and skills of its staff - and yet am too often shocked by some of the behaviour I see.
His warning comes at a time when the NHS is struggling to emerge from crises such as the Mid-Staffs scandal, where hundreds of patients died and suffered neglect, as well as facing rising costs and an ageing population.
Mr Prior is a former MP and deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, who was appointed to run the CQC last year.
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