Parliament debate secured to set out scope for NHS bullying inquiry

© Conservative MSP Edward MountainEdward Mountain.
Edward Mountain.

A debate in the Scottish Parliament will set out the scope and time frame of an independent inquiry into an NHS Highland bullying scandal.

The debate, which will take place on November 29, has been secured by Highlands and Islands MSP Edward Mountain.

His motion received cross party support from the Scottish Conservatives, Scottish Labour, Scottish Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Green Party.

It states that the “parliament condemns bullying in any shape of form; welcomes the independent external investigation to examine the claims of bullying in the workplace at NHS Highland, which was announced by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport on November 2, 2018, and notes the calls on the Scottish Government to ensure that the matter is resolved fully and promptly.”

Mr Mountain had led calls at the Scottish Parliament for an independent inquiry.

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He said: “I am delighted that the Scottish Government has reconsidered its position and is finally launching an external independent inquiry into bullying claims within NHS Highland.

“It is now vital that the Scottish Government sets out the terms of reference for the inquiry, what resources will be made available to help the investigators and the timeframe of the inquiry.

NHS Highland whistleblowers hail top-level talks over an external investigation into the claims as ‘the first time our voices have ever been heard’

“The inquiry must be efficient, effective and leave no stone unturned. What no-one wants is an inquiry that suffers from long-delays and therefore means NHS Highland staff are left waiting too long for answers.

“That is why it is necessary to hold this debate and I am pleased my motion has won cross-party support.”

NHS Highland bosses have agreed to seek “external help and advice” regarding the claims.

This comes on the back of a private meeting held and attended by 120 medics who voiced concerns with senior officials.

A group of whistleblowers first made allegations in September. Hospital consultants and GPs attached their names to claims that senior doctors and nurses were frightened to raise concerns with senior management.

Four Highland medics spoke out – Eileen Anderson, consultant radiologist at Raigmore; Lorien Cameron-Ross, out-of-hours GP at Raigmore; Jonathan Ball, a GP at a Nairn medical practice and Iain Kennedy, executive partner at Riverside, Foyers and Cromarty medical practices.