UNISON response to Argyll & Bute Health and Social Care Partnership Culture Review Survey results

Responding to the release today (Friday) of a summary presentation of the results of a survey into the experiences of current and former NHS employees in the Argyll & Bute Health and Social Care Partnership, Dawn MacDonald, UNISON Highland Health Care branch secretary said:
“It is tragic that the very staff that we clap for every Thursday to thank them for their unselfish caring for our loved ones have experienced bullying and harassment working for the NHS.”
“The results show that 68% had experienced bullying and 49% of respondents said the bullying and harassment had occurred in the last 6 months. This means bullying and harassment is happening now, in the NHS, in the midst of this pandemic. It must stop. UNISON will support our affected members in securing justice and demanding a meaningful change in the culture. Confidence is low and we need to start to rebuild that.”
“It is very sad that so many (34%) from Nursing & Midwifery felt the need to complete this survey on bullying and harassment. It also speaks volumes that 62 ex employees of Argyll & Bute HSCP went out their way to fill in this survey.”
“However, while a sobering read, these results are not surprising. UNISON has been raising concerns internally and with the Scottish Government regarding behaviours within the HSCP, the management team and human resources department since October 2018.”
The findings of the survey are:
•79% of respondents had either experienced, witnessed or both experienced and witnessed bullying and harassment;
•Of those 87% said it happened several times or frequently;
•68% of respondents experienced bullying or harassment;
•65% of respondents were current staff who reported experiencing bullying and harassment;
•49% responded that this had occurred in the last 6 months;
•61% of respondents  believe there is a culture of discouraging reporting;
UNISON is the biggest trade union in the NHS, the biggest trade union in Scotland and the UK.
Attached is the presentation slides for summary of: Argyll & Bute Health and Social Care Partnership Culture Review – Survey results. Commissioned by NHS Highland in partnership with Argyll & Bute Health and Social Care Partnership May 2020
In November 2019, NHS Highland Board commissioned Progressive Partnership Ltd to carry out a survey of NHS Highland colleagues working in Argyll & Bute Health *& social Care Partnership.   The HSCP has around 1540 NHS Highland employees and 770 Council employees, the scope of the review did not include Council employees, so this report only covers two thirds of the HSCP. From a population of 1540 current NHS Highland colleagues in Argyll & Bute, 446 completed the survey, which is 29%.  Another 62 were former employees, making a total response of 508.
UNISON, the biggest trade union in the NHS, has been concerned about the culture in the Argyll & Bute HSCP for a long time. UNISON tried unsuccessfully to address these issues internally. UNISON called on NHS Scotland’s Scottish Partnership Forum to instigate an urgent review of human resources in NHS Highland, back in October 2018
UNISON also argued that the scope of the Culture Review was too narrow. However we encouraged our members to engage in the process, and are pleased to note that large numbers of current and ex staff came forward to do so.
Argyll & Bute Health Social Care Partnership (HSCP) management excluded Argyll & Bute Council employees working within the HSCP from the survey. Therefore they are being advised of responses to a survey that they had no input to.
UNISON concerns raised in October 2018 included:
•The length of time it takes to conclude investigations, disciplinaries and grievances. Months and years is the default timescale;
•Suspensions are not used as last resort and risk assessing is not appropriate. When combined with the excessive delays in progressing cases this results in huge stress to those suspended and avoidable cost to the service,
•Inappropriate behaviours and language;
•A lack of willingness to seek constructive resolution;
•An out of sight out of mind approach by NHS Highland to NHS staff employed in Argyll & Bute
UNISON Contacts
Dawn MacDonald, Highland Health Care branch secretary, 07584 503799
Simon Macfarlane, regional organiser, 07703 194 132
Danny Phillips, communications officer: 07944 664110