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RCN demands action on bullying in Scottish health service

Parliamentary debate on the issue sparks call for culture change 

Parliamentary debate on the issue sparks call for culture change 


Politicians in the Scottish parliament discussed bullying in the country’s NHS. Picture: iStock

More needs to be done to combat bullying in the Scottish health service, the RCN has warned.

RCN Scotland was responding to a debate in the Scottish parliament this week about bullying and harassment in the NHS.

Call to act on staff concerns about bullying

The college’s associate director Eileen McKenna said the debate highlighted the need for culture change across the country’s health service.

‘No one at work should feel they are bullied, yet in our last employment survey almost a third of members who responded reported experiencing bullying from colleagues,’ she said.

‘Health boards across Scotland must take a proactive approach and do more to reassure staff that concerns will be acted on.’

Politician recalls hearing ‘many heartbreaking stories’

The debate was sparked by a review earlier this year on bullying at NHS Highland, which suggested that potentially hundreds of people had experienced bullying at the health board.

Scottish Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands region Edward Mountain put forward the motion to debate the issue in parliament.

‘I have heard many heartbreaking stories about why people could not face the next day at work because of bullying,’ he said.

‘One person was not sure that they could face life at all.’

Scottish Labour MSP for the Highlands and Islands David Stewart echoed Mr Mountain’s statement.

‘Some victims who have contacted me have had their careers ruined, some have lost out financially and many have suffered mental health issues,’ he said.

Government apologises and pledges to review issue of bullying

During the parliamentary debate, Scottish health secretary Jeane Freeman thanked individuals from NHS Highland who had spoken out, and she apologised to them and others for the fact that they were bullied.

She said the government had asked all health boards in Scotland to consider the NHS Highland review’s recommendations, and added that a review of the issue would be conducted with all boards before the end of this year.


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