Members of the Department of Health and Social Care have refuted claims made by the former health minister that ‘bullying’ was happening in the department.
Michelle Haywood, Tanya August-Hanson and Joney Faragher said that following an ‘outburst’ made by Rob Callister in the sitting of Tynwald this morning, which involved him accusing the department of bullying, they felt they had to comment.
Their statement read: ‘In light of comments made about our conduct today in Tynwald Court, we feel we have now been forced into commenting publicly.
‘We wrote to the Chief Minister with our concerns on November 3 following a series of events within the Department of Health and Social Care. We had endeavoured to deal with matters within the political meetings within the Department, but when our approach proved impossible we felt we had no alternative but to inform the Chief Minister of our concerns.
‘We acted out of the wish to uphold standards and integrity. A culture of owning, and learning from, mistakes must start with us and be modelled by us or it means nothing. We started our tenure under the new minister being supportive and challenging, and remained so throughout. We consider it part of our role to provide political challenge.
‘We are grateful to the Chief Minister for seeking further information from those involved, and for taking decisive action.
‘We are sorry that Mr Callister feels that we have acted in any way unprofessionally throughout this episode. We have kept our counsel until now in order to allow all parties to maintain their dignity, but the outburst in Tynwald Court today levelled a number of charges at us which are unfounded and we wish to utterly refute.
‘We understand that this matter is now likely to be referred to the Tynwald Members Standards Committee. We will fully cooperate with any investigation carried out and we will make no further comment.’