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Medic blames NHS Highland 'dysfunction' for doctor exodus

A top doctor has blamed a "dysfunctional" culture at NHS Highland for a crisis in medical recruitment and retention engulfing its rural hospitals.

Dr Gordon Caldwell, a consultant physician who was the clinical lead at Lorn and Islands hospital in Oban until he resigned last summer, said there "still seems to be a lot of fear" among staff more than four years on from a bullying scandal that cost the health board nearly £3 million in settlements.

Dr Caldwell - who joined NHS Highland in 2018 - said an exodus of senior consultants from Oban and Fort William over the past 18 months is down to management "undermining us, bullying us, and blaming us for problems that were due to a lack of leadership".

The 66-year-old, who is internationally regarded for his expertise in medical education, became so concerned about the impact on junior doctor training in Oban that he whistleblew to NHS Education for Scotland (NES) while on sick leave for stress after finding his own internal complaints rebuffed.

A resulting inspection report, published in May last year, said NES had "serious concerns about the training environment" at Lorn and Islands hospital, including around the "safety of care".

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Source: The Herald, 1 April 2023


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