Investigation into bullying allegations in NHS Highland is welcome, say UNISON

UNISON, Scotland’s largest health trade union, welcomes the Sturrock Review into bullying allegations in NHS Highland. The report highlights that many hundreds of staff have experienced behaviour which is inappropriate. We further note that a wide range of views have been expressed, and a large number of recommendations have been identified.

Janette McQuiston, UNISON Highland Health branch secretary, said: “We look forward to working closely with NHS Highland with the input and direction of our members, to ensure that these recommendations are carefully considered, and appropriate actions put in place. Some of this evidence is shocking, and we owe it to vital NHS Highland staff to ensure that lessons are learned from this, and that measures are put in place to avoid staff having to experience these kinds of issues in future. No bullying of staff is acceptable, and these issues need to be dealt with firmly, fairly and promptly if they arise.”

“There are lots of good things happening in NHS Highland. Members provide dedicated, essential services, and need to feel fully supported in doing this. We can improve things and we will certainly be calling upon NHS Highland to do this – with, if necessary, additional resources from the Scottish Government (who commissioned the report) to do so”.

Simon Macfarlane, UNISON Regional Organiser for Argyll & Bute said: “John Sturrock’s report reflects UNISON’s experience that far too many NHS staff endure bullying and inappropriate behaviour at work.

UNISON members are committed to delivering the best service they can for communities across Argyll & Bute and NHS Highland. But too often though they are let down by management and Human Resources.

Remoteness of leadership, constant service redesign and disregard for the contribution of staff are commonplace. This report must be a wakeup call.”

On Argyll and Bute Simon (which is part of NHS Highland) said: “We welcome the recommendation for a separate review into Argyll & Bute management. UNISON has been calling for intervention since October 2018. We also welcome the Health Minister’s commitment to take this further.

“This review must be done in consultation with UNISON and other trade unions. If the staff voice is not central to the review it will only lead to more alienation in Argyll & Bute.”