Page last updated at 20:06 GMT, Monday, 10 May 2010 21:06 UK

West Midlands Ambulance Service defend 'Hitler' survey

Adolf Hitler
Complaints were made about the survey

Some West Midlands Ambulance Service staff contacted their union after being asked if they thought Adolf Hitler was a "cool" leader in an NHS survey.

Unison said it had received complaints from a few members who found the question inappropriate.

The service defended the survey, which asked staff to rate leaders like Gordon Brown and Richard Branson.

Steve Jetley, health campaigner and a former worker with the service, said the survey was also a waste of money.

The project was to look at the characteristics of good leadership, to allow the organisation to be more efficient, a spokesman said.

There was no intention to cause any offence
A spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service

"In discussing different styles of leadership a survey, which is one small part of the project, sought to include an analysis of a dictatorial style.

"With hindsight, it would have been better to have used a different example.

"There was no intention to cause any offence."

The survey is one part of a £10,000 year-long study funded by the Strategic Health Authority.

A Unison spokesman said: "Some people have said it is inappropriate, and objected to it, and a lot of people have objected since seeing press reports.

'Staff respect'

"Although it was not the best thing to say, it has been blown out of proportion.

"It is part of a much larger project and we support the investment into the future."

Mr Jetley, who resigned from his job after being suspended for allegedly leaking documents to the BBC, said: "Regardless of the merits of the research project, at a time of NHS financial crisis, it is clearly both morally and economically wrong to fund this kind of luxury.

"I would also argue that the NHS needs "cool" management.

"What it really needs is management that staff respect; and spending £10,000 on a project that asks 'what makes a manager cool' when crews are tired and overworked because overtime has been cut as a result of a shortage of funds, will certainly not help."

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