NHS Forth Valley Policies for Staff (FOI correspondence)

NHS-FV-FOI-reply-16-July-20

My reply (below) to which I still wait a response from NHS Forth Valley:

Thursday, 24 July 2014

To: Hilary Chalmers,

Lead Freedom of Information Officer,
Information Governance Department,
Colquhoun Street,
Stirling
FK7 7PX

Dear Hilary Chalmers,
Ref: FOI0001744

Thank you for your FOI response letter dated 16th July 2014. It is most helpful

This FOI reply has raised areas for which I would appreciate further clarification under the same FOI process.

I note in answer to the first question that NHS Forth Valley has on only two occasions (once in 2012 and once in 2013) “formally” dealt with an employee’s failure to comply with NHS Forth Valley’s Business Conduct Policy which was first issued by NHS Forth Valley 15th October 2007. Given the questions I have raised about transparency and NHS Forth Valley’s compliance with HDL (2003) 62 could you please

  • Under FOI could NHS Forth Valley provide for these two separate disciplinary procedures, including the specific reasons for them and the outcomes. Names can of course be redacted if necessary. It is the context and governance that should be publicly transparent.

The FOI answer to my second question does not match my own experience. The FOI return states that no case has ever been recorded of any NHS Forth Valley employee facing a “formal” or “disciplinary procedure” in relation to NHS Forth Valley’s Dignity and Respect at Work Policy (which was first issued 28th July 2006).

I have now been “invited” to two meetings with very senior NHS Forth Valley managers regarding “issues” relating to NHS Forth Valley’s Dignity and Respect at Work Policy. I am also aware of a colleague who left NHS Forth Valley after a similar “invitation”. In these cases there did not appear an option for the employee of NHS Forth Valley to turn down this “invitation” and the employee was reminded that they could attend with a union representative. My assumption would therefore have been that such meetings should be included in any data returns by year. Perhaps they were not included in the original response for reasons of definition?

  • Under FOI, could NHS Forth Valley confirm, by year, the number of “informal” “invitations” to meet with NHS Forth Valley managers in relation to the 2006 Dignity and Respect at Work Policy?
  • Under FOI, could NHS Forth Valley confirm, by year, the number of “informal” “invitations” to meet with NHS Forth Valley managers in relation to the 2007 Business Conduct Policy?

I look forward to your reply and thank you again for your help.

Yours sincerely,
Dr Peter J Gordon

I have just received this REPLY (24 Oct 2014) and have posted it below. The question that this reply raises in my mind is how many employees like myself have resigned from an NHS Board after “informal” “invitations” in regards to any of their policies?

Is there is an asymmetry of power here that favours the institution over the individual?

What might be the costs? Well duty of candour may be a “casualty”. The unintentional creation of a “culture of fear” might be a further consequence.

I appreciate this is a difficult area but as a doctor interested in ethics I am of the opinion that it needs further exploration.

FOI-NHS-Forth-Valley-24-10-

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