In the final report of the review, published last week, John Sturrock, QC, says it is possible that many hundreds of staff at NHS Highland have experienced behaviour which is inappropriate.
A total of 340 people contacted the review. Mr Sturrock says the majority of contacts wished to report “experiences of what they described as bullying, in many instances significant, harmful and multi-layered”.
The report specifically highlights difficulties in decision-making between management and clinicians which are “a cause of much frustration and sub-optimal performance”.
Clinicians reported feeling unsupported in carrying out their work, not listened to regarding patient safety concerns, and undermined when managing staff issues. In particular, it reported that a consultant said the approach to clinicians raising clinical concerns involved “isolating, marginalising and discrediting individuals coupled with reprisal actions”.
The review did not conclude that there is or is not a cullying culture in NHS Highland. It said the majority of employees have not experienced bullying. “Having said that,” it adds, “extrapolating from the evidence available to this review, it seems equally possible that many hundreds have experienced behaviour which is inappropriate. That seems far too many.”
Commenting on the review findings, BMA Scotland council chair Lewis Morrison said the report must be a catalyst for change, not just for NHS Highland, but for the whole of Scotland.
“There are equally important recommendations for the Scottish Government to respond to quickly and effectively,” he said.