A FORMER hospital worker claims he was bullied out of his job.

Alexander McGeechan, 55, says run-ins with NHS bosses left him in a downward spiral of life problems that started with not being allowed to take leave to serve his country.

Alexander worked as a head chef for 21 years at Girvan Hospital and despite an NHS policy to work in conjunction with the Armed Forces, his efforts to do so were ‘grudged’ and sometimes stopped by his line management.

Alexander loved his job but feels he was made to feel worthless and bullied which led to anxiety, depression and problems with alcohol.

Alexander told the Ayr Advertiser: “In the end the bullying ended my career, my health suffered and everything suffered.

“I would spend my weekend fighting for my country and all I got was stick from my manager. She didn’t just make it difficult, she stopped me. I was bullied out my job that’s the way I look at it. When I left I just wasn’t strong enough to fight it anymore.”

Alexander had to stop working 14 years ago after a battle with his bosses that lasted years. He says it is only now he has been able to deal with it. At the start of his employment, Alexander followed procedures by the book to entitle him to continue his services with the Armed Forces, but when it came to booking the time off, life was made difficult.

He added: “You shouldn’t have that kind of treatment at work when you’re doing a good job. When I started, I wrote to the manager to ask for permission, he said yes, not a problem. There is an arrangement made. So I went about it the right way. But then the manageress gave me a hard time about it.”

Over time, Alexander’s hard work and dedication was diminished through a lack of recognition.

He said: “All these people were getting awards for working there for five years, eight years, 10 years and I got nothing. I remember when I was eventually given an award for being there 20 years and it was just flung on my desk. She was absolutely trying to sicken me out of my job. You don’t go about doing that for no reason.

“When I phoned to get certain weekends covered, ‘I’ll see’ was the answer I got. Not that it was organised and yes of course you can, you’re entitled to it, it was ‘I’ll see’ which is not the answer a manager should be giving - especially when there is a policy for it.

“I was made to feel guilty for taking the time, and I was made to feel inadequate at a job I was absolutely bloody good at. I ended up with anxiety, depression, alcohol problems, which all stemmed from the bullying I got at work which there was no reason for because I was very good at my job.

“It destroyed my time there and basically made me suffer through time. I was never like that before. I never once got up in the morning not wanting to go to my work. It never mattered what I did I was never appreciated for any of the achievements that I did do. I never got anything like that, no recognition at all for any of the service I put in.”

NHS Ayrshire and Arran said they would not comment specifically on Alexander McGeechan’s case.

Patricia Leiser, HR Director at NHS Ayrshire and Arran said: “We are unable to comment on the experience of a former employee, but can confirm that all NHS Ayrshire and Arran staff have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.

“We are committed to providing a working environment which is free from harassment, bullying or intimidation of any nature.

“Our Dignity at Work policy reinforces our legal and ethical responsibility to ensure that staff are not subjected to inappropriate behaviour which may not only affect their performance but more importantly their health and wellbeing.

“NHS Ayrshire and Arran supports employees who are members of or wish to join the Volunteer Reserve Forces.

“These consist of the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR), the Royal Marines Reserve (RMR), the Territorial Army (TA) and the Reserve Air Forces (RAFR and RAUXAF).

“This policy will also apply to Regular Reservists, who are ex-regulars who may retain a liability to be mobilised.”