“Bullying or harassment in any form will not be tolerated within the organisation.”
Professor Boyd Robertson, chair of NHS Highland
The Healing Process was developed by NHS Highland in close partnership with colleagues, trade union representatives within Highland and Argyll and Bute and whistle blowers to help people who have suffered from historical bullying and harassment up to and including 31st December 2019 whilst working within Highland and Argyll and Bute.
Funded by the Scottish Government, the process enables former and current employees to access an independent team of advisers, which includes human resources, legal, communications and mediation specialists.
The Healing Process was approved by the NHS Highland Board on 31st March 2020 but it was put on hold in order to allow the Board to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the Board meeting on 26th May 2020 it was agreed to start the Healing Process by enabling individuals to formally register for the process. The period of registration is from 27th May 2020 to 31st March 2021.
The new service has been established in response to the Sturrock Report. The independent review by John Sturrock QC on allegations of bullying and harassment within NHS Highland found that a significant number of employees, and former staff, may have suffered from bullying or harassment over a number of years.
The NHS Highland Board has reaffirmed that it is deeply sorry for the harm that has been caused to every one of those individuals and thanks everyone who has invested time in developing the healing process.
If you have experienced historical bullying the first step in the Healing Process is to formally engage with the process and register your interest.
Many changes have been implemented within NHS Highland since the report was published and the health board has taken significant steps to build trust with its employees and communities.
The Healing Process initiatives include:
One-to-one Discussions (held remotely)
Access to independent psychological therapies
Access to independent review panel discussions (held remotely)
As a first step for most people, a trained practitioner will, in confidence, listen to the concerns of each individual and support them in identifying what they want from the healing process and the most appropriate onward referral for them.
If you are not eligible to engage with the Healing Process and have issues that you wish to raise please contact your manager or professional lead, local HR department or trade union representative. Further information about the support available was circulated to all colleagues by email on 19th May and is on the announcements page of the intranet.
Independent review panel members
The Healing Process independent review panel has five members who will focus on listening to and understanding each individual’s experiences of bullying or harassment while working for NHS Highland, and help find the resolution that is most likely to aid healing.
Chair of the Independent Review Panel
Michael Fuller was employed as Scottish NHS Officer for the trade union, Unite, for almost 25 years and represented members individually and collectively across Scotland.
As a national Staff Side representative, Michael became the first Chair of the Scottish Partnership Forum, followed by the Chair of the Scottish Workforce & Staff Governance Committee, the Scottish Pensions Group and the Modernising Nursing in the Community Board, as well as a member of the Quality Alliance Board which was created to draw up the NHSS Quality Strategy.
He then worked as a staff side member of the Employment Tribunals in Scotland for five years and was a board member of Healthcare Improvement Scotland for three years, which included work as a member of the Scottish Health Council. He has been a Non-Executive Director of NHS Lanarkshire for the last eight years, which also sees him take on the role of Chair of the Clinical Governance Committee, as well as membership of the North and South Lanarkshire Integration Joint Boards.
Tracy started her career working in a number of senior management roles in Human Resources, including Director of HR and OD at The Christie Hospital in Manchester, one of Europe’s leading cancer centres. From 2012 to 2015 she was Executive Officer at whistleblowing organisation, Patients First, and contributed towards a thematic review which went on to form part of the inquiry for the Speak Up Review Led by Sir Robert Francis.
Since 2015, Tracy has worked in a number of consultancy roles for various bodies including the Scottish Government, Scottish Ombudsman, Working Transitions, England NHS, and the Medical Defence Shield, carrying out a broad range of work centred around whistleblowing and bullying and harassment.
Tracy is also a Teaching Associate at Warwick Business School; a visiting Research Fellow at Middlesex University; and is a regular speaker at healthcare conferences. She holds a number of voluntary roles including Vice Chair at Turton High School, Trustee at Healthwatch, and Mentor at Bolton Lads and Girls Club.
Frances Mary Elliot
Frances began her 36-year career with the NHS as a GP before working in a number of senior management roles, latterly as Medical Director for NHS Fife, where she held a combination of corporate and professional medical leadership responsibilities for the Board.
As a committed healthcare professional passionate about high quality health care, she has worked in numerous senior level posts including Medical Director, Chief Executive, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, and Interim Director of Research and Development, for various bodies including Fife Primary Care NHS Trust, NHS Quality Improvement Scotland, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates and NHS Fife.
She is now Interim Executive Director of the British Society of Lifestyle Medicine supporting the rapidly growing charity develop appropriate governance and organisational infrastructure, and is also Interim Assistant Research & Development Director, for NHS Fife.
Neil, a Partner and Head of Employment Law at Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP, has been practicing employment and discrimination law for over 20 years. In his early career, he represented members of the Royal College of Nursing in employment matters before the Employment Tribunal and NMC.
Neil is an experienced advocate in both employment and employment appeal tribunals and has also been successful in using mediation as a route to resolve disputes promptly and commercially. Chambers and Partners, the world’s leading provider of legal research and analysis, lists Neil as a leader in his field, and states that he is ‘extremely sharp and knowledgeable’, as well as an ‘excellent communicator’.
Neil is an experienced speaker on the Employment Law circuit and is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a specialist in Employment law.
Ian H Reid
Ian held a number of senior management roles in his early career, including Director of Human Resources with the reformed NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, the largest NHS Board in Scotland. During this time, he also worked with the Scottish Government as Pay Modernisation Director leading the implementation of the new pay and terms and conditions system within NHS Scotland, Agenda for Change.
His work has seen him carry out investigations and make recommendations into significant bullying and harassment cases in a number of organisations. In 2015, Ian became an independent HR advisor, and has worked on various projects for NHS Lothian, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, NHS Tayside, NHS Fife, NHS Borders, NHS Highland, Health Scotland and NHS24.
Outside the NHS he has undertaken assignments for the University of the West of Scotland, and Dundee Contemporary Arts. He is also Vice Chair of the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow and is a trustee of Erskine Hospital.