MSP criticises yet more delays to NHS Highland Annual Review and Bullying Inquiry Report

Highlands and Islands MSP, Edward Mountain, has today criticised the postponement to the NHS Highland Annual Review and the delayed publication of John Sturrock QC’s Review into alleged bullying at NHS Highland.

On the 27 March 2019, NHS Highland announced it would rearrange the date of its Annual Review from 9 April to 25 April following the appointment of Professor Boyd Robertson as the new interim chair of the Health Board.

This is not the first time NHS Highland has postponed its Annual Review as it was originally due to take place on 18 February 2019.

Edward Mountain MSP also heavily criticised the Scottish Government for the long delays to the publication of the Sturrock Review into alleged bullying at NHS Highland.

The review was initially meant to be published at the end of February 2019.

On the further postponement to the NHS Highland Annual Review, Edward Mountain commented:

“The Annual Review is repeatedly being postponed and the situation is now getting ridiculous.

I hope this is the last time this is rearranged as those who use the service need to be given the opportunity to raise their concerns to the Health Board.

There can be no more postponements. It’s time for the Cabinet Secretary and the NHS Highland Health Board to face the public.”

On the delayed Sturrock Review, Edward Mountain commented:

“The Sturrock Review was originally meant to be published in February but it is highly likely we won’t see the final report until after Easter. 

The Inquiry has gone for too long because of insufficient urgency from the Scottish Government and a lack of resources to deal with this significant problem, which was evident to everyone with a close connection to NHS Highland.

This long delay is deeply unfair to our health care staff who are being made to wait for answers. We cannot begin to rebuild staff confidence at NHS Highland until this report is published.”


Further Information:

NHS Highland Annual Review

Postponement in February 2019:


Sturrock Review

In answering the question below, the Cabinet Secretary Jeane Freeman confirmed that the report would be published at the end of February 2019:

Question S5W-20513: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 11/12/2018

"To ask the Scottish Government how the review into alleged bullying and harassment at NHS Highland will take account of the views of patients."

Answered by Jeane Freeman (18/12/2018):

"As part of its scope the review aims to understand what, if any cultural issues have led to any bullying, or harassment, and a culture where such allegations apparently cannot be raised and responded to locally. John Sturrock QC will be holding a series of private meetings with a large number of individuals who have contacted him to raise concerns, which may include any patients who have come forward who have witnessed or experienced bullying among NHS staff.

Given the volume of interest and the requirement to provide a report in the early part of the new year, the review will now work with those who have come forward at this stage, listening to and distilling their concerns. If patients make contact with stories of staff bullying staff, their written representations will help inform the review. An initial report will be submitted by the end of February 2019, and any next steps will then be decided upon."

Current Status: Answered by Jeane Freeman on 18/12/2018