Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has ruled out allowing patients, who claim they have been bullied, to submit their concerns to the QC led review into allegations of NHS Highland bullying and harassment.
This is contrary to reply in the Scottish Parliament chamber during a members’ business debate last month when Ms Freeman said: “The review will explore the underlying issues and will include conversations with any affected individuals, including current and former staff, their representatives, board members, management and patients, if patients wish to come forward.”
Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, David Stewart, who also represents the Highlands and Islands, said he was extremely disappointed by the response from the Health Secretary in a Parliamentary Question he lodged.
Ms Freeman said in her reply that patients could make contact with stories of staff bullying staff and their written representations will help inform the John Sturrock review.
“I certainly picked up during the previous debate that patients who have been bullied or harassed would be able to feed in directly to the Sturrock review,” explained Mr Stewart.
“But it turns out that they will only be able to take part if they have witnessed staff being bullied and not if they have been bullied themselves.
“Patients who have contacted me will be bitterly disappointed about this as they were very keen to let their voices be heard.”
18 December 2018
Index Heading: Health and Social Care
David Stewart (Highlands and Islands) (Scottish Labour): To ask the Scottish Government how the review into alleged bullying and harassment at NHS Highland will take account of the views of patients.
Jeane Freeman: As part of its scope the review aims 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. John Sturrock QC will be holding a series of private meetings with a large number of individuals who have contacted him to raise concerns, which may include any patients who have come forward who have witnessed or experienced bullying among NHS staff.
Given the volume of interest and the requirement to provide a report in the early part of the new year, the review will now work with those who have come forward at this stage, listening to and distilling their concerns. If patients make contact with stories of staff bullying staff, their written representations will help inform the review. An initial report will be submitted by the end of February 2019, and any next steps will then be decided upon.