Improving NHS workplace culture

First meeting of advisory group following John Sturrock QC’s report.

Measures to promote positive behaviour and workforce practices that align with NHS values have been discussed at the first meeting of a new advisory body.

Chaired by Health Secretary Jeane Freeman, the Ministerial Short-Life Working Group (MSLWG) brings together NHS boards, staff and trades unions, royal colleges and professional and regulatory bodies.

The group was created in response to the findings of John Sturrock QC’s report into allegations of bullying and harassment in NHS Highland.

Over the next few months the group will look at what more can be done to support open and honest workplace cultures and to deliver improved behaviors among leaders and managers at all levels of the health service. The MSLWG will deliver a framework focused on relationships, behaviors, confidence and trust.

Ms Freeman said:

“This was a positive and productive first meeting of the advisory group, and over the coming months we will to engage constructively with the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the Sturrock review.

“I believe passionately in the NHS Scotland values of care and compassion, dignity and respect, openness, honesty, responsibility, quality and teamwork - and I know that staff across our NHS believe passionately in those values too.

“Our collective belief in these values is critical to our capacity to deliver the safe, effective person-centred care people deserve; but to truly do that our staff have to experience a workplace culture at every level which is aligned to those values.”


The MSLWG is part of a package of measures announced by the Health Secretary in response to John Sturrock QC’s report into allegations of bullying and harassment in NHS Highland.

These measures include:

  • dedicated Whistleblowing Champions recruited to every health board by the end of 2019
  • the introduction of legislation to allow the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman to take on the role of Independent National Whistleblowing Officer for NHS Scotland by summer 2020
  • the Health Secretary seeking assurance from all NHS board that they are acting on the findings of the Sturrock Review

John Sturrock QC’s report into cultural issues related to allegations of bullying and harassment in NHS Highland

Scottish Government’s full response to John Sturrock QC's report


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