Cultural issues related to allegations of bullying and harassment in NHS Highland: independent review report

An independent review report looking at cultural issues related to allegations of bullying and harassment in NHS Highland by John Sturrock, QC and mediator.

Appendix 4: Respectful Dialogue and Civility

A4.1 I refer to this at paragraphs 33.36 and 35.17.

Commitment to Respectful Dialogue

A4.2 This, from Collaborative Scotland (, is a useful set of ideas (of which I am the author) which capture some of what may have been missing in NHSH in recent years. Perhaps everyone could commit to this:

A4.3 "We acknowledge that how we engage with each other is just as important as any outcome. We believe that it is in the interests of a flourishing health service in the Highlands of Scotland and our own communities that we treat each other with civility and dignity. Therefore, we undertake to do our best, and to encourage others to do their best, to:

  • Show respect and courtesy towards all colleagues, whatever views they hold;
  • Listen carefully to all points of view and seek fully to understand what concerns and motivates those with differing views from our own;
  • Acknowledge that there are many differing, deeply held and valid points of view;
  • Use language carefully and avoid personal or other remarks which might cause unnecessary offence;
  • Ask questions for clarification when we do not understand what others are saying or proposing;
  • Express our own views clearly and honestly with transparency about our motives and our interests;
  • Respond to questions asked of us with clarity and openness and, whenever we can, with credible information;
  • Look for common ground and shared interests at all times."

A4.4 I note also and commend the work of healthcare professionals in Civility Saves Lives:

"Civil work environments matter because they reduce errors, reduce stress and foster excellence.

Almost all excellence in healthcare is dependent on teams, and teams work best when all members feel safe and have a voice.

Civility between team members creates that sense of safety and is a key ingredient of great teams. Incivility robs teams of their potential."



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