One of the first clinicians to blow the whistle, GP Dr Iain Kennedy said as a group the whistle blowers were very disappointed by the apology.
He said: “The apology comes from the chairman of NHS Highland who was not part of the previous regime, it doesn’t come from the whole board of NHS Highland.
“We wanted an apology from the whole board, and more importantly we wanted an apology for the bullying that hundreds of people have experienced and also for the harm they have suffered, and the apology falls short of that.
“The apology only apologise of inappropriate behaviour, it falls short of acknowledging the bullying.
It apologises for the board’s response when the whistle blowers raised their concerns about the bullying, so there has been no actual apology for a decade long period of bullying, nor the harm that that bullying has caused.
“We’re disappointed, particularly as we made it clear to the board of NHS Highland what sort of apology would be necessary for the victims of bullying to start to heal, for the bullying and the harm caused, and we’ve received neither.
“We can only assume that NHS Highland has been given advice not to acknowledge the bullying.”
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Dr Kennedy welcomed news yesterday that the board’s vice-chairwoman Melanie Newdick has been appointed the latest whistle-blowing champion to the NHS Highland board, and that the Scottish Government is also recruiting whistle-blowing champions to all boards across Scotland.
He said: “Our previous experience of whistle-blowing champions has been extremely disappointing, but we’ve been heartened by Melanie Newdick’s response to the whistle-blowers. She is the only non-executive director outwith the chairman who has approached us to support us in what we did.”