Anti-Bullying and Undermining Campaign

The NHS Staff Survey for England reported that almost a quarter of all NHS staff experienced harassment, bullying or abuse from colleagues in the last 12 months. Not only does this have a devastating impact on individuals and the teams within which they work, but it can have dire consequences for patient care.

Disruptive behaviour has an impact upon patient safety and does not align with the General Medical Council's Good Medical Practice guidance or the Nursing and Midwifery Council Code of Practice 2015.

Bullying, undermining and abuse also drains limited NHS resources, and is estimated to cost the NHS in England at least £2.3bn a year in sickness absence, employee turnover, productivity and employment relations. Moreover, studies in the US have attributed disruptive behaviour in the perioperative area alone to 67% of adverse events, 71% of medical errors, and 27% of perioperative deaths.

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh is committed to eradicating bullying and undermining from the surgical and dental professions. We continue to:

  • Have a zero tolerance approach to bullying, undermining, producing a series of Professional Standards we expect RCSEd Fellows and Members to uphold
  • Provide free access to our anti-bullying toolkit, learning e-module and other supporting materials offered by partner organisations
  • Offer Trusts and Health Boards an on-site workshop on Conflict Resolution Skills in Healthcare, and an eModule that suggests ways of managing our own behaviour. Both are CPD accredited
  • Work with partners from across healthcare professions to host events, offer advice and other initiatives, such as the anti-bullying Alliance, aimed at developing practical solutions to address bullying in the medical workplace
  • Lead the debate on this issue in the press and on social media.
  • Develop key performance indicators to determine the effectiveness of interventions and collaborations targeting bullying and undermining

The RCSEd campaign to tackle undermining and bullying in surgery and dentistry was a College initiative and the work was carried out by a group of surgeons and dentists, consisting of Council members, consultants, SAS doctors and trainees.
We extend our thanks to the following organisations and individuals for their invaluable help, support and inspiration:
  • Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (Professor Steven Tobin)
  • Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (Professor Clare McKenzie, Professor Janice Rymer, Dr Jo Mountfield, Dr Will Parry-Smith)
  • Dr Francesca Norris, Cardiff University / Wales Deanery
  • Dr Mark Stacey, Wales Deanery
  • Elaine Russ, CUREMeDE, Cardiff University
This campaign is endorsed by:



Bullying harms your profession and your patients. Let’s Remove It.

If you have any enquiries about any aspect of RCSEd’s anti-bullying work, please contact

Chris Sanderson
Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
85-89 Colmore Row
B3 2BB




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