New bullying review needed after ‘damning’ reports


One of the whistle-blowers who began the process exposing a bullying crisis at NHS Highland has said the organisation still has more to do in Argyll & Bute.


In 2018 GP Dr Iain Kennedy and three other doctors wrote on open letter highlighting a “culture of fear and intimidation” at the health board.


This sparked an independent review by John Sturrock QC that found hundreds of staff could have been victims of bullying.


Speaking to, Dr Iain Kennedy, welcomed the leadership changes that had taken place since Sturrock reported and described the ‘healing process’ set up to help staff as a “major success”.


Read the full interview here.


But he said that more needed to be done to address the concerns of staff in Argyll & Bute.


“One of our current concerns is that there are a number of individuals coming forward in the Argyll and Bute part of NHS Highland, reporting current and longstanding bullying and there have been calls to have an independent review performed there – Sturrock did recommend that.”


“The concerns in Argyll and Bute are not going away unfortunately, and the results of the survey were damning.


“Myself and my whistle-blowing colleagues do believe an independent review is required into Argyll and Bute, and I’m not sure who should undertake it, but it should be an individual or organisation who is independent of NHS Highland.”


Review author John Sturrock QC called for a second investigation focusing on Argyll & Bute because of its isolation from the rest of the north Highland area.


He said some of the allegations ‘implicate management at a very senior level’.


A row emerged after health board management there insisted they had met this call with a workplace survey from an independent research agency.


It found bullying was rife, with nearly seven in ten current and former NHS staff having experienced bullying and harassment.


However local politicians and staff representatives said it “stretches credulity” to say the survey met the criteria set down by Mr Sturrock because it was commissioned by NHS Highland management.


by Henry Anderson & Sarah Nimmo


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