MSP at a loss why no reply from Scottish Government on compensation question

Highlands and Islands MSP,  David Stewart, is still to get a reply from the Scottish Government about if it was asked by NHS Highland to step in to fund a compensation scheme for bullying and harassment victims.

Mr Stewart, who is also Labour’s Shadow Public Health Minister, put down a Parliamentary Question on November 26, but, despite Health Secretary Jeane Freeman saying it would be answered on December 11, she has now said she will reply “as soon as possible”.

The MSP is at a loss as to why the answer is taking so long. “I do not understand why it cannot be answered in the time allocated,” he said.

“Cynics might suggest the answer might well pop up sometime over the festive period, but I am hopeful it will be answered while the parliament is still sitting this week,” said Mr Stewart.

“I would have thought it was a simple ‘yes/no’ answer.”

Mr Stewart previously said it was a blow that NHS Highland had announced that victims of the NHS Highland bullying and harassment scandal would have to seek compensation through the legal system.

The health authority said it had been decided that the healing process would “not extend to matters of financial loss or compensation”.

Mr Stewart said: “I know there are former employees who’ve lost or left their jobs and, in some cases, had their careers ruined and will be unable to go to an industrial tribunal due to a time-bar on cases and will be unable to afford a civil case.

“In September, at the Scottish Parliament’s health and sport committee, NHS Highland’s Interim Chair, Professor Boyd Robertson, told me that compensation was being considered, but he could not give a definitive answer about how it would be tackled. That gave people some hope which has now been taken away.”

Mr Stewart added that he knew NHS Highland’s financial state meant that it could not afford a compensation scheme itself.

He also explained the Sturrock review had highlighted that maybe some form of independent review panel might be established for a limited period to bring closure for people who appeared to have suffered some financial loss because of alleged inappropriate handling of their situations and were in financial difficulty as a result.

The MSP has written to Jeane Freeman and NHS Highland’s Chief Executive, Iain Stewart, asking what has happened to that suggestion.

  • On the parliamentary system on Monday December 16
    Question S5W-26537: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/11/2019 To ask the Scottish Government whether NHS Highland has requested funding to set up a compensation scheme for former victims of bullying and harassment.

Answered by Jeane Freeman (11/12/2019): I shall reply to the member as soon as possible.