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Standards for the Prevention of Bulling and Undermining in the Health Service


RCSEd is committed to the global health priority of patient safety

The College is committed to patient safety and supports the World Health Organisation’s World Patient Safety Day. Our Standards for the Prevention of Bullying and Undermining and our #LetsRemoveIt campaign aim to tackle bullying and harassment in the workplace and to deliver safe and effective patient care.


Bullying and undermining behaviour in the surgical workplace compromises patient safety, threatens the mental and physical health of staff, undermines morale and has a detrimental effect on training.

In response, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh has developed a set of standards for medical professionals. We endorse these and thereby expect our Members and Fellows to:

  • Demonstrate exemplary professional behaviour in ensuring that they do not bully or undermine colleagues, either deliberately or inadvertently;
  • Adopt a zero-tolerance approach to bullying and undermining behaviours; and demonstrate to their colleagues that undermining and bullying is unacceptable when encountered;
  • Challenge and report bullying and undermining behaviour appropriately, whenever it is experienced or observed;
  • Members and Fellows should identify, report and (if in a leadership role) investigate allegations of bullying and undermining behaviour;
  • Ensure that all colleagues are informed to identify and report undermining and bullying behaviour, both as a victim and as an observer;
  • Contribute to or conduct investigations into allegations of bullying and undermining behaviour without prejudice to either the alleged victim or perpetrator, and must raise concerns about the conduct of such investigations if they are perceived to be prejudiced, compromised or insufficiently robust;
  • Expect Members and Fellows demonstrate leadership by contributing to the development of local reporting systems that are effective and have the confidence of colleagues.

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