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Bullying and Undermining Campaign – Let’s Remove it


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02 Jun 2017

The sentencing this week of surgeon Ian Paterson has once again raised the issue of bullying and undermining in healthcare. RCSEd has launched a campaign to encourage healthcare professionals speak up and change this culture.

From Professor Michael Lavelle-Jones, president RCSEd

"The sentencing this week of surgeon Ian Paterson has once again raised the issue of bullying and undermining in healthcare, and highlighted the terrible consequences that this behaviour can have for patients. We must change the culture in which such a surgeon can remain unchallenged, with the team around them perhaps aware of some of the issues, but too scared to speak up.

"The College has a zero tolerance approach to bullying, undermining and harassment and categorically condemns this is in all circumstances. But we want to do more. We want to change the culture of healthcare to ensure that this kind of behaviour becomes so unacceptable it can no longer go on. We want to offer support to those who have been bullied, and 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.

"Today, our College is calling for change. We are asking everyone to work together to bring about this change, and have developed a hub of tools and resources to support this work.

“Bullying harms your profession and your patients. Let’s remove it.”

 


 The Background

The link between bullying and undermining behaviour and patient safety is now clear. Evidence of the negative impact of such behaviour on the effectiveness of a team is getting stronger year-on-year. The extent of bullying and undermining throughout healthcare is well documented, and surgery is often reported as being a specialty where it is particularly prevalent. In the College’s own membership survey, nearly 40% of respondents reported they had been victims of such behaviour, with the same amount reporting that they had witnessed it.

It has been estimated that this issue costs the NHS £13.75billion annually, and healthcare professionals have attributed disruptive behaviour in the perioperative area alone to 67% of adverse events, 71% of medical errors, and 27% of perioperative deaths.

Bullying harms your profession and your patients. Let’s remove it.


What We Are Doing

The College has a zero tolerance approach to bullying, undermining and harassment and categorically condemns this is in all circumstances. But we want to do more. We want to change the culture of surgery, dentistry and healthcare to make this kind of behaviour so unacceptable that it can no longer go on. We want to offer support to those who have been bullied and to get people to reflect on their own behaviour and take ownership of the fact that this is everyone’s problem. 

We have:

  • Developed an online hub full of factual and legal information, links to literature, case studies, e-learning tools, support for people who are being bullied and strategies to reflect on your own behaviour to make sure that you are not part of the problem.
  • Developed resources such as posters and presentations that individuals and teams can use in their own places of work to spread the word and change the culture.
  • Committed to integrating a presentation on this topic into all our educational courses, events and activities.
  • Started the development of a new performance workshop ‘How to survive and thrive as a surgeon’ which will include work on team behaviour and how, as leaders, you can build and support successful, effective teams.

Enough is enough – taking action together we can remove bullying from the workplace

#LetsRemoveIt


We want:

COMPULSORY training for junior doctors that embeds culture change from the start:
  • Deaneries, HEE and NES to introduce compulsory training on this issue for Foundation Year doctors to encourage people to challenge poor behaviour and think about their own behaviour from the very start of their career.
CORE competencies for clinicians embedded with GMC and GDC:

Map RCSEd bullying resources education and training toolkit with GMC and GDC standards to help clinicians demonstrate their core competencies.

CONSEQUENCES for those who bully:
  • Trusts and Boards must introduce measures to ensure individuals who bully and undermine have their training responsibilities removed.
CAMPAIGN sign up:
  • All healthcare professionals to sign up to the principles of the #LetsRemoveIt campaign and work together to eradicate bullying and undermining in the workplace
  • Trusts and Boards must give staff the time and space to undertake ongoing training on bullying, and work with all healthcare specialties to improve workplace culture.

 


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