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NHS Highland set to go public with plan to tackling bullying

By Scott Maclennan

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NHS Highland has revealed that it will have “clear milestones” prepared for its November board meeting as part of its action plan to deal with bullying within the organisation.

That is according to human resources director Fiona Hogg, on the long-awaited plan that was called for in an independent report by John Sturrock QC into bullying allegations.

The human resources department will soon share details of how the board will deal with the issue.

NHS Highland will soon announce its action plan to tackle a culture of bullying.
NHS Highland will soon announce its action plan to tackle a culture of bullying.

The move is likely to be welcomed by whistle-blowers and victims of bullying who have been calling for it for more than a year.

Ms Hogg said: “Our plan from the November board meeting onwards is that it will contain an update on progress, but it will also include the revised action plan.

“The action plan will have clear milestones with red, amber and green statuses as well as remarking on what we have delivered – so it is really important that we move to that level of clarity in being able to track what we are doing.”

She said victims of bullying would also finally have some understanding of the health board’s response.

“We have discussed the need for a process to look at the concerns that have been raised and to view and address these and identifying any support needed for those that have been impacted.

“We have begun to think in some detail about how this should be managed but we do require further planning and advice to make sure it is fully scoped and the risks and issues are fully articulated and then we need approval from NHS Highland’s board.”

But she added that it was important not to rush: “We absolutely share and recognise the desire to get moving, but this is a really complex area and we must set it up right to make sure it has the capacity and the organisation to work effectively.”

Another set of recommendations from the Sturrock report could see the health board save millions as it develops a clinical and care strategy to provide a “blueprint” for the delivery of the services across NHS Highland over the next five years.

Mark Wilde has been brought in to help lead the programme and board chairman Professor Boyd Robertson underlined its importance.

He said: “Bear in mind that it is a very big prize at the end of the process, with financial gains to the order of £9 million for 2021-2022.”

Mr Wilde stated that NHS Highland was called on “to develop a clinical and care strategy as a matter of priority”.

He added the “aim is to identify tangible, feasible and deliverable proposals” for change across four key areas of care delivery.

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