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External investigation launched into NHS bullying claims 

Whistleblowers claim more than 100 health workers had come forward alleging bullying.

Probe: More than 100 health workers have come forward alleging to have been bullied.
Probe: More than 100 health workers have come forward alleging to have been bullied.

Allegations of bullying at NHS Highland are to be examined in an independent external investigation.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman announced the move after whistleblowers claimed there had been a "severe bullying culture" at the health board for a decade.

A group of medical professionals met with NHS Scotland's chief executive, Paul Gray, and other senior officials on Monday.

Last month, whistleblowers claimed that more than 100 health workers had come forward alleging to have been bullied.

Dr Iain Kennedy, one of the clinicians who made the claims, said: "We think that this will mean there will be a much better working environment for staff in NHS Highland, which can only mean there will be a much better patient experience.

'It's exactly what we've been calling for and it's really important for the victims'
Dr Iain Kennedy

"It's exactly what we've been calling for and it's really important for the victims that they have the safe space so that their story can be heard and so we can move forward and get a new culture in NHS Highland."

When the whistleblowers came forward, NHS Highland claimed its internal evidence painted a "very different picture" from what was publicly alleged.

On Monday, the health board's chair, David Alston, said: "I am very pleased that the cabinet secretary has publicly accepted our request for external support into allegations of a systematic culture of bullying across NHS Highland.

"The terms of reference will need to be drawn up by the Scottish Government, in conjunction with representatives of all concerned including NHS Highland."

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