This week Ruth Wishart writes about allegations of bullying and harassment made by current and former health and social care staff in Helensburgh – and about their plea to health secretary Jeane Freeman for an independent inquiry.

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Since I have no personal knowledge of the climate inside the Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) in Argyll and Bute – save what I and everyone else heard and read in recent news reports – it would be iniquitous to comment on individual allegations of bullying.

Having worked for large concerns over the years, I’m very well aware that there are always two sides to every story.

What is worth saying is that when you get a head of steam built up over human resources issues, as seems to have happened here, and when very serious accusations have been put in the public domain, then it seems reasonable to have a more local investigation than the previous, generic one by John Sturrock QC which reported on NHS Highland as a whole.

READ MORE: Health secretary urged to hold independent review over 'bullying and harassment' concerns at Argyll and Bute HSCP

The fact that politicians from different parties are demanding one is also telling.

In fairness, the HSCP has taken the matter seriously enough to survey the views of its staff. Yet when that came back with two thirds of the respondents either reporting personal bullying, or being aware of it affecting others, then there is clearly a need to drill down further into these worrying results, to find out if there is fire underneath the smoke.

The effort to marry health and social care has an insistent logic. But it also has a long history of territorial wars and silo-driven thinking.

That may have little to do with the charges being laid by several individuals at the moment. Yet it may have poisoned the well generally, whilst new systems bedded down.

READ MORE: 'A nest of vipers': HR expert says he was bullied by bosses at Argyll and Bute HSCP

We, and they, won’t know for sure until there is a proper inquiry, run by wholly independent people.

In essence that means giving the task to a body of people who have no skin in the game, nor any connections with either the HSCP or any of the people accusing it of poor practices.

Given the financial pressures on health and social care at the moment you might think that a wasteful use of scarce funds.

Or you might consider it too serious not to seek out the truth, and, should the claims be valid, try to change the culture before it’s too late to heal.

READ MORE: Catch up with all the latest Helensburgh and Lomond news headlines here