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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-20143: Gail Ross (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 22 November 2018

To ask the Scottish Government who will lead the external independent review into the allegations of a culture of bullying and harassment at NHS Highland, and what the scope of the review will be.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 23 November 2018

I have asked John Sturrock QC to lead this independent review to explore the underlying issues and concerns that have led to allegations of bullying and harassment within NHS Highland. The review will include conversations with affected individuals, including current and former staff, their representatives, Board members and Health Board Management.

The scope of the review will be to:

  • Create a safe space for individual and/or collective concerns to be raised and discussed confidentially with an independent and impartial third party.
  • To understand what, if any cultural issues have led to any bullying, or harassment, and a culture where such allegations apparently cannot be raised and responded to locally.
  • To identify proposals and recommendations for ways forward which help to ensure the culture within NHS Highland in the future is open and transparent and perceived by all concerned in this way.

The review will commence with initial meetings taking place before Christmas. A review report with proposals and recommendations for ways forward will be provided to the Scottish Government in early 2019.

Separate to this independent review, the Chief Executive of NHS Scotland Paul Gray has today written to NHS Highland to offer an increased level of support to help them recover their financial position and strengthen internal governance.

This will raise 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 improvement initiatives necessary to restore the Board to financial balance