In response to a review led by John Sturrock QC into allegations of bullying in NHS Highland, an advisory group has been established by the Scottish government to promote professional behaviours and improve working practices.

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd), which has been tackling these issues with its #LetsRemoveIt campaign, welcomes the Scottish government’s initiative in taking the Sturrock Report forward to resolve bullying and undermining across NHS Scotland. Results of the group include appointing whistleblowing champions to each health board and bringing together a wide range of organisations to work collaboratively on these important issues.

RCSEd has been addressing bullying and undermining with its #LetsRemoveIt campaign since 2017 after its membership survey reported that 40% of respondents had been victims of such behaviour and the same amount had witnessed bullying and undermining.

The campaign was nominated for British Medical Journal and Health Service Journal awards in recognition of the excellent resources, events and materials it offers healthcare professionals and Trusts, including advice for bullies to improve their behaviours. The #LetsRemoveIt campaign is endorsed by a range of healthcare organisations including the Royal College of Nursing, The Point of Care Foundation and the National Guardian Freedom to Speak Up.

The advisory group includes a wide range of senior stakeholders: Pediatric Rheumatology Collaborative Study Group (PRCSG), the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE), NHS Education for Scotland (NES) with John Sturrock QC and the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Jeanne Freeman MSP.

“I’m happy to see the Scottish government are taking bullying and undermining within the NHS seriously,” said Professor Michael Griffin OBE, President of RCSEd and #LetsRemoveIt campaigner. “This is a positive step forwards and will bring organisations together to collaborate on future anti-bullying and undermining work. The #LetsRemoveIt campaign has highlighted the need for action and we will continue leading the way in this area.”