NHS Highland ‘bullying’ allegations first emerged in July

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The Press and Journal first raised the issue of bullying claims within NHS Highland back in July.

Allegations first surfaced after the publication of a Corporate Governance report that stated health bosses needed to bring in mentors and go on formal training courses to improve how they govern.

Speaking at the time, GMB regional organiser Liz Gordon said: “Bullying is endemic within NHS Highland and the report highlights this in its calls for a ‘safe’ environment.

“Many GMB members report their experiences to us but are afraid to challenge the way they are treated for fear of retribution.

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“Self-interest at senior management level and apathy within the partnership model is in large part responsible for doing nothing to challenge and change.”

The report was considered during a NHS Highland board meeting in July when Mr Alston said: “I would reject that. I don’t think anybody believes that.

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“There are channels in place where all our staff can raise concerns. I am afraid comments like that are just gossip.”

He added: “The intention of this review is to take the recommendation and move forward. They have been described as ‘Champions League’ recommendations and we want to aspire to be excellent.”

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Mr Alston claimed that progress had already been made in development sessions, adding: “Coaching, mentoring and training is already part of NHS Highland. Any progressive business would have mentoring and coaching.”

The report, co-written by John Brown, chairman of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and Susan Walsh of Healthcare Improvement Scotland, was handed to the board in May, but was only made public two months later.