Campaign to end bullying culture

  • Date: 27 July 2017

A CAMPAIGN has been launched to tackle bullying in surgery and dentistry.

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) said they want to change the culture within these specialities – and in healthcare as a whole – “to ensure that this kind of behaviour becomes so unacceptable it can no longer go on.”

A survey of their own membership found almost 40 per cent of respondents said they had been victim to bullying or undermining behaviour, with the same number reporting they had witnessed it. The problem was particularly prevalent in surgery, the College said.

Their Let’s Remove It initiative highlights the link between bullying/undermining and patient safety. It cites research suggesting healthcare professionals have attributed disruptive behaviour in the perioperative area alone to 67 per cent of adverse events, 71 per cent of medical errors, and 27 per cent of perioperative deaths.


The College said it has a “zero tolerance approach” to bullying, undermining and harassment and wants to offer support to those affected.


RCSEd president Professor Michael Lavelle-Jones said: “We want to… get people to reflect on their own behaviour and take ownership of the fact that this is everyone’s problem. As professionals, we have a duty to protect our patients from damaging and unnecessary treatments, and, as professionals, we have a right to be protected from being bullied and undermined.”


As part of the campaign, the College has developed an online hub featuring factual and legal information, support for people who are being bullied and strategies for clinicians to reflect on their own behaviour. Other resources include information posters and presentations that can be used within healthcare teams.


The campaign calls for compulsory training for junior doctors “that embeds culture change from the start” and urges trusts and boards to give staff the time to undertake ongoing training and to work with all specialties to improve workplace culture.


Find out more about the campaign on the RCSEd website

This page was correct at the time of publication. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

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