ALMOST 100 radiographers at Crosshouse Hospital have lodged formal grievances over bullying – with some “on the brink of suicide”.

According to officials, staff have suffered years of bullying, harassment and victimisation, with two staff members contemplating taking their own lives; one being talked down from the Erskine Bridge while the other was poised to take an overdose.

The shocking claims have been made this week after radiographer, Fiona Ferguson was threatened with disciplinary action after challenging proposed changes to CT scanning – amid fears it could jeopardise patient care.

Ms Ferguson had only recently returned to work following treatment for breast cancer, but has now been signed off for “work-related stress” by her GP.

The case was described by the Society of Radiographers’ (SoR) national officer for Scotland, Deborah Shepherd, as a “final straw after years of bullying, harassment and victimisation”.

She said she had been personally telephoned in the past two years by two individuals on the verge of ending their lives over work pressures.

Ms Shepherd said: “Members have for years been very reluctant to put in formal grievances, because their impression is that when they do they get targeted and it puts themselves and their careers at risk.

“Of course,the board says ‘there can’t be a bullying and harassment problem because nobody’s putting in grievances’.

“The reason for that of course is that if they did, they’d be victimised. So for years we’ve been telling the board there’s a culture of harassment and bullying in there, and it’s been getting progressively worse.”

The collective grievance letter, signed by 85 radiographers and radiology staff from both Crosshouse and Ayr hospitals, was sent to chief executive John Burns on April 3.

It describes staff at Crosshouse feeling “intimidated, scared to speak up for fear of retribution” and complains of “a lack of consistency in the application of NHS Ayrshire and Arran’s existing grievance process which serves only to marginalise and isolate individuals from colleagues”.

John Burns, chief executive at NHS Ayrshire, said the health board took “seriously” all concerns raised by staff. Mr Burns had offered to bring in independent consultants from Core Solutions, the Edinburgh- based mediation company led by John Sturrock QC, in a bid to “work collaboratively to agree the best way to understand the issues”.

This was rejected by SoR members.

Mr Burns said: “I personally offered to meet with staff to assure them that this co-produced process would be a formal process with clear outcomes.

“This would not remove the right for a grievance to be heard at a later date.

“Having been advised that their members did not wish to take forward the proposal, we confirmed to the Society that the grievance will proceed in accordance with Board Policy.

“We recognise that this is a difficult time for all staff who are affected by this grievance.”