Director quit NHS Tayside over claims of ‘systematic bullying’

Health secretary Jeane Freeman. Picture: John Devlin
Health secretary Jeane Freeman. Picture: John Devlin
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A whistleblower quit NHS Tayside over frustration that health chiefs were not doing enough to deal with “systematic bullying” allegations and the suicide of a trainee doctor, it has been claimed.

Labour health spokesman Anas Sarwar said Mr Hussain had been frustrated that concerns raised were “not being acted upon by managers”.

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Mr Hussain was contacted by a former trainee doctor who said they “left the NHS due to issues of systematic bullying and negative cliques”, Mr Sarwar said.

The Labour MSP continued: “There were claims that people were raising issues but these were not being acted upon by managers, including allegations in the email that a previous trainee took their own life and the stress was unbearable for some.

“A serious set of allegations including that a trainee took their own life due to stress.

“He (Mr Hussain) goes on to say that he asked for this to be raised at a board meeting but was told that he could not.”

Mr Sarwar said Mr Hussain “eventually” raised concerns at a staff governance committee meeting but said he felt “this is viewed as an ongoing issue which is tolerated”.

Mr Sarwar made the claims after health secretary Jeane Freeman made a statement at Holyrood on the health board..

It emerged at the weekend that Mr Hussain had decided to resign from NHS Tayside, along with colleagues Stephen Hay and Doug Cross, but he did not make public the reason for his decision.

Mr Sarwar said he had seen the letter Mr Hussain sent to the health secretary.

The Labour MSP claimed: “There is a crisis of public confidence with NHS Tayside following a series of issues, including financial mismanagement leading to brokerage loans, raiding of the charity endowment fund, a chief executive and chair forced to resign.”

Ms Freeman conceded there were “undoubtedly challenges for NHS Tayside”, adding she “would not underestimate those in any respect”.

She insisted the “appropriate place” for Mr Hussain to have raised his concerns was at the staff governance committee meeting “and not in the wider public board meeting”.

And the health secretary said the board at NHS Tayside, which had a new chief executive and chairman appointed in April, were “responding appropriately in my opinion to the whistleblowing issues that have been raised with them”.

Ms Freeman pledged: “I will continue to monitor how the board deals with those and what the end result will be.”