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Bullying and Undermining Campaign

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) has a zero tolerance approach to bullying, undermining and harassment and categorically condemns this in all circumstances.

The link between bullying and undermining behaviour and patient safety is now clear. Evidence that this kind of behaviour has a negative impact on the workings of a team is getting bigger year on year. The extent of bullying and undermining throughout healthcare is well documented, and surgery in particular 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 organisations in the UK £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.

We all have a role to play if we want to change the culture of the surgical and dental workplace.

Disruptive behaviour in the surgical and dental environment does not allow staff to work in a supportive environment, is bad for patient safety and is not in keeping with the GMC's Good Medical Practice.

  • Has workplace bullying, undermining or harassment affected you?
  • Have you thought about how your behaviour might affect others?


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:

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