Claims of bullying at NHS Western Isles went unheard for more than 18 months, the former clinical lead for emergency care has said.
Agnes Munro, a lead nurse with NHS Western Isles, told the Press and Journal that policies at the health board were completely disregarded by management.
Ms Munro said on one occasions she was treated as though she was “worthless” by the management for more than 18 months, after she was verbally abused by a locum doctor in front of other staff, patients and families.
Ms Munro said the incident that happened several years ago had completely spoiled her 45-year career.
She said: “There was an incident with a locum doctor, I asked him repeatedly to treat his patient – which he refused to do. Instead he came at me and shouted at me in front of staff members, patients and their families, and I could not believe what was happening. He as pointing and shouting at me. No one came to help me.
“The following day I wrote a report on the situation, as did one of the consultants – and it was not investigated. The locum consultant was not suspended – in fact he completed six months with the health board.”
More than a year later, Ms Munro’s complaint was upheld.
“I believed every word of NHS policies that they would be there for me, that I was valued, zero tolerance, dignity at work, a policy against bullying and harassment. But every single rule was broken by them.
“I still think to myself, why did you believe these people? But I did because it was written in black and white and signed off by them.”
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A spokeswoman for NHS Highland said: “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.
“We 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 NHS Western Isles.
“Staff at NHS Western Isles 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 chief executive Gordon Jamieson.”
Argyll and Bute CHP
Staff have been told a review of management practices is to be held in Argyll and Bute Community Health Partnership (CHP).
The news follows a recommendation in the Sturrock Report into bullying in NHS Highland.
The lead councillor for health and social care in Argyll and Bute has said he welcomes a review of the CHP – but says no one has reported bullying to him.
Argyll and Bute CHP is one of a number of locally organised healthcare partnerships and remains part of NHS Highland.
Kieron Green, the former chairman, now vice chairman said The Sturrock Report into bullying at NHS Highland had raised a number of issues that would need to be addressed.
However, a spokeswoman for NHS Highland would not confirm plans to undertake the review.
Health and social care spokesman for Argyll and Bute Council, Mr Green is also the vice chairman of the Integrated Joint Board, the body that that oversees the CHP. He said: “We are prepared to fully co-operate with that review in order to support the staff so they can continue to provide the excellent service that they provide.
“I am not able to comment on individual staff, and there are avenues for staff who have issues that they need to raise. ”
When asked if he knew any cases of bullying in the CHP, he said: “No-one has raised any issues with myself. I would be willing to look into anything that is brought to me, but I would be directing them to the channels that already exist within the CHP.
“Bullying is not something I have personally experienced in the CHP. I would never say that bullying doesn’t take place, but I have never personally experienced it.
“We work with 1,000s of people who are our staff members, and it would be impossible to know everything that had taken place. ”