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37. Dr Iain Kennedy

Head above the parapet

If Dr Kennedy had not chosen to become a GP, a career as a journalist might have well suited him.

Last year, he led a team of four individuals to denounce a bullying culture within NHS Highland that had been anchored for a decade.

His call for justice faced many obstacles. But despite being thwarted by all the statutory committee structures and being told by many that him and his team of whistle blowers were ‘unrealistic’, he did not give up.

His perseverance paid off when QC and mediator John Sturrock was appointed to lead an independent review of the allegations after he decided to expose the scandal in the media.

The review confirmed the concerns expressed by many individuals: NHS Highlands’s senior leadership had an ‘autocratic, intimidating, closed, suppressing, defensive and centralising’ style, where challenge was not welcome and people felt unsupported’.

Dr Kennedy was personally thanked by Health and Sport cabinet secretary Jeane Freeman who told the media that it was ‘the proper thing to do’ – one of his favourite moments this year.

Described by some as a Scottish champion for GP autonomy, independent contractor status and for remote and rural general practice, he greatly believes in the value of GPs.

This fervent supporter of justice is currently working with lawyers engaged by the BMA to take the Government to court in relation to age discrimination on doctors’ pensions.

As long as there will be intimidation in the NHS, be assured to find Dr Kennedy nearby. He says: ‘I’m anticipating various engagements speaking to my experiences of bullying in the NHS, whistleblowing, and promoting a change in NHS culture to one of learning and support.’

Why influential: Blows the lid off scandal

What others say: ‘Principled, driven, highly effective, fearless, honest, authentic clinical and medico-political leader, deeply sensitive to the needs of others in the profession’

Random fact: Is a fisherman

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