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Pressure builds on NHS Highland to provide answers after only taking action on bullying claims 12 years after the Inverness Courier reported them


By Scott Maclennan


We reported claims of bullying at NHS Highland in 2007.
We reported claims of bullying at NHS Highland in 2007.

EMBATTLED bosses at NHS Highland came under fresh pressure today after it emerged that bullying claims in the organisation were raised as long ago as 2007.

Twelve years ago the union Unison carried out a survey of 3000 staff and found nearly one in five said they had been bullied.

But it was not until whistle-blowers went to the media last year that a public inquiry was launched chaired by QC John Sturrock, revealing a culture of bullying in the local health service.

The Inverness Courier originally reported on the survey, which said almost half of those who claimed to have been bullied did not report it, either for fear of repercussions or because they did not believe anything would be done about it.

At the time Adam Palmer – now NHS Highland employee director but then Unison’s Highland Healthcare Branch secretary – said bullying was unacceptable, but also that he did not believe it was any worse for NHS Highland than other Scottish health authorities.

The make-up of the board had almost entirely changed between 2007 and 2018 when bullying allegations were first made publicly, but still included both Elaine Mead and David Alston, who would go on to become chief executive and chairman respectively.

Politicians and union bosses were both furious at yet more evidence that the bullying problem was clearly known about years before it became a matter of public record.

Full story in today's Inverness Courier.



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