Health chief says sorry over work bullying

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The most senior healthcare official in Argyll and Bute has apologised to all NHS staff in the area who have experienced bullying while at work.

Chief Officer at Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) Joanna McDonald also pledged to take action after a report revealed that 68 per cent of workers who responded to a survey had been bullied during their time working for the HSCP

A total of 446 employees, 29 per cent of NHS workforce in the HSCP, responded to the independent survey along with 62 former colleagues.

A report had previously branded the figures as ‘deeply concerning’.

The survey did not include the 770 Argyll and Bute Council social care staff who work with the HSCP’ but Ms McDonald pledged that all further research will include those workers too.

Discussion of the report took place at a meeting of the partnership’s integration joint board (IJB) which was conducted via Skype on Wednesday May 27.

Ms McDonald said: ‘I would like to apologise to all staff who have experienced bullying or harassment.

‘Having been here for 20 months, I am really disappointed that we haven’t seen the level of improvement that we would have liked, and staff are experiencing bullying in a way we don’t expect.

‘I have given a commitment that the plan of action will reflect the voices of all those people who have given their experiences in such a brave way.

‘We also heard from staff who have previously worked in Argyll and Bute and that has enabled us to have a good understanding of our areas for improvement.

‘We have 1,540 health colleagues and 770 council colleagues. The council staff were not included as this was a follow-on from the Sturrock Review into NHS Highland.

‘But everything going forward will be across the partnership. I want this to be a partnership that people are proud to work for.’

In a report published for the meeting, Ms McDonald also said: ‘It is distressing to see that a significant number of our colleagues have experienced bullying and harassment and addressing the implications of this report is our highest priority.

‘We would like to thank those who have responded to the survey for having the bravery to respond.

‘We know how challenging it is for colleagues to confront the issues they are sharing with us.

‘We will work in close partnership with colleagues and stakeholders across all of the organisation to deliver the actions necessary to achieve a culture that is based upon dignity and respect for each other.’

The report also said: ‘On Friday May 15 NHS Highland held a board development session to hear the outcome of the Argyll and Bute Culture Survey. The survey was carried out as a specific action resulting from the Sturrock Review.

We will be working hard to ensure that the culture across all of the Argyll and Bute HSCP is one where colleagues are treated fairly and with kindness and caring, dignity and respect and are focused on working together for a common purpose.’