Some bullying allegations against senior Health Department officials are to be investigated further following an independent review.
Last October, an anonymous letter was sent to senior politicians, civil servants and the island's media which made a number of serious claims about the running of the Hospital and the department.
The letter said that morale in the department had been destroyed by the alleged bullying culture, and that the Hospital was "literally on the point of collapse".
The allegations prompted Government Chief Executive Suzanne Wylie to commission a review into the alleged bullying and misconduct.
Pictured: Government Chief Executive Suzanne Wylie commissioned a review into allegations of bullying within the Health Department.
That review was completed in January, and Mrs Wylie has said that, while some of the claims should be dismissed, others "may warrant further consideration".
In a statement, she said: "On 3 October 2022, the Government of Jersey received an anonymous letter containing allegations about Health and Community Services. Given the nature of the allegations and that they had been circulated widely without evidence, an independent expert was appointed to objectively conduct an initial review and to assess any evidence available.
"The expert concluded his work in January 2023 and provided the government chief executive with a report. The report recommends that some of the allegations should be dismissed as no evidence was found whatsoever and that a number of other allegations have already been determined under Government of Jersey and/or Health Department processes. It recommends that there were a small number of allegations which may warrant further consideration. The Government of Jersey has notified involved or potentially involved individuals accordingly.
"The report will not be published as it is not appropriate to provide further details that would contain confidential information and breach date protection obligations."
Pictured: Professor Hugo Mascie-Taylor's report made 61 recommendations.
It comes after Professor Hugo Mascie-Taylor released his damning assessment of the Health Department last August. His report alleged that there was a culture of bullying, "vested interests" and a lack of accountability which posed a threat to patient safety, and contained 61 recommendations to resolve the problem.
Health Minister Karen Wilson subsequently pledged to root out bullying within Health and "transform" the service by introducing new governance procedures, which Professor Mascie-Taylor's report identified as lacking.
In an interview with Express immediately after publication of his report, Professor Mascie-Taylor said that he believed that it was a “minority that are bad apples” at the Hospital.
He said: “I don't how big a minority, but a minority, and then probably they’re only bad apples in one particular way. So, I think it would be quite wrong to be overly alarmist about this.
“I don’t think the staff in that institution are particularly different from that in any other hospital, I think it would be wrong to conclude that. I just think that the way it’s constructed, with a lack of accountability, and a lack of openness and transparency, means that you’re not quite sure what is going on.”
He praised Health's Director General, Caroline Landon, for her decision to commission the report - which he said was in part prompted by Medical Director Patrick Armstrong and Chief Nurse Rose Naylor - as "courageous".
Professor Mascie-Taylor's report wasn't the first time that bullying had been flagged as a major issue within the public service.
In 2018, a request under the Freedom of Information Law by Express uncovered a report by UK HR consultants which revealed a "high level" of secret bullying within across government, with employees allegedly "shouted at", "belittled", and made the subject of "loose talk and gossip."
While the government launched a major culture change programme in bid to tackle this, the results of a staff survey leaked to Express in 2021 showed that problems persisted within Health. It showed a rise in the number of staff taking time off due to stress, anxiety or depression, that there was "worryingly low" morale within the workforce, and that harassment policies were sometimes being ignored.
Two former Health workers with experiences of bullying opened up about their experiences in the wake of the report - you can read their testimonies here.
FOCUS: The sickness in the Health Department (2021)
FOCUS: Health workers open up about bullying (2021)
Report reveals States' secret bullying shame (2018)
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