Claims of bullying problem at NHS Western Isles refuted

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NHS Western Isles has strongly refuted claims of a bullying problem within the health authority, saying its track record dealing with any issues in this regard is “beyond reproach”.

Complaints about how staff are treated at NHS Western Isles emerged this week and lead to a call by trade union ‘Unison’ for the Health Authority to review its procedures.

The story was sparked when three former employees highlighted their experiences in the media, with claims of being shouted at in an inappropriate manner in front of colleagues, suspension following a complaint which proved to be incorrect and another worker who said they felt alienated, humiliated and embarrassed after raising concerns about workload pressures.

In response to the story Unison said the Sturrock Report - published earlier this month - gives a framework to review and address concerns and has “clear implications” for every Scottish health board.

A spokesman for the trade union added that NHS Western Isles should examine procedure and policy and reflect on the recent cases.

In answer to the bullying claims, Chief Executive of NHS Western Isles Gordon Jamieson, told the Gazette: “NHS Western Isles holds in high regard the ongoing achievements delivered year on year by its wide range of staff.

“NHS Western Isles strongly refutes any allegation of a serious problem with bullying or harassment of staff within the organisation.

“It would be both inaccurate and naive to suggest that we do not encounter inappropriate behaviour from time to time; however our track record of investigating and actioning on such behaviours is beyond reproach.”

Statistical information about the number of complaints raised with the Health Board and evidence of effective performance in dealing with these was not forthcoming, however Mr Jamieson, stressed: “NHSWI operates a zero tolerance policy to bullying and harassment and will fully and comprehensively investigate any allegations to such raised by staff.

“There is no evidence to support the allegation of a serious problem of bullying or harassment at NHSWI.”

Staff at NHSWI have a number of avenues in which to raise concerns regarding bullying or harassment - via line manager, occupational health, confidential contacts, local and national staff surveys, and through regular Open Meetings with NHSWI Chief Executive Gordon Jamieson.

In answer to Unison’s call for NHS Western Isles to examine its procedures Mr Jamieson, concluded: “Following the Sturrock Report in NHS Highland we are reviewing the findings and proposals to take any opportunity to improve our current system.”