News

QC to lead review into bullying allegations

Published: 23 Nov 2018 12:17

Review into concerns in NHS Highland.

An independent review into allegations of a bullying culture at NHS Highland will be conducted by John Sturrock QC.
 
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman had previously announced plans for an independent review to look into the allegations that were raised in September.
 
The review will provide an opportunity for current and former staff who have raised concerns to discuss these with an independent and impartial third party. Findings will be reported back to the Scottish Government in early 2019 so that any next steps can be decided upon.
 
Mr Sturrock, who has a background in mediation, said:
 
“These are difficult and sensitive issues. I know from my work as a mediator how important it is to listen to people’s concerns. My primary role, therefore, is to provide a safe and confidential place for people to be heard and to explore with them what the underlying issues might be. I hope that, by better understanding the circumstances, acknowledging the impact on individuals and services and learning lessons from the past, confidence and effective working relationships can be rebuilt.”
 
Separately, the Chief Executive of NHS Scotland, Paul Gray, has also written today to NHS Highland to offer an increased level of support to help the board recover its financial position and strengthen internal governance.
 
This will raise NHS Highland to Stage 4 in the Board Escalation Framework. Additional support will take the form of a support team, led by a transformation director, who will assist the board in planning and delivering the improvements necessary to restore financial balance, and in implementing the governance arrangements which flow from a recent review commissioned by NHS Highland.
 
NHS Highland currently has a projected deficit of £19.9 million for 2018/19.
 
Ms Freeman said:
 
“I’m pleased that John Sturrock QC has agreed to conduct this independent review into allegations of a bullying culture at NHS Highland.
 
“These are serious allegations, and it is clearly important to me that we establish exactly what the underlying issues are so I can decide on any actions that might be necessary.
 
“The Chief Executive of NHS Scotland has also today written to the board to offer them additional support including help with recovering their financial position and implementing agreed changes to governance.”

Background
 
The Board Escalation Framework is a system where additional support is offered to boards to improve performance and address issues in areas such as finance and governance. NHS Ayrshire and Arran are currently at level 3, NHS Borders and NHS Highland are at level 4, and NHS Tayside are at level 5.