Workplace bullying common among doctors, study reveals
More than a third of UK doctors believe there is a problem with bullying and harassment in their workplace, according to a new study.
The study by the British Medical Association (BMA) reveals that bullying and harassment is common in the NHS and that many doctors and other staff say their personal and working lives are seriously affected by it.
According to the report, 39% of UK doctors said they believed there was a problem with bullying, undermining or harassment in their main place of work.
And almost two thirds (65%) of doctors felt pressure of work was the main reason for bullying taking place.
A similar figure (58%) felt it was difficult to challenge as much of the behaviour comes from the top.
The new study comes a day after the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock announced a new initiative to protect NHS staff from deliberate violence and aggression from patients, their families and the public.
“Bullying in medicine can bring to mind images of a junior doctor being shouted at by a senior, or a surgeon angrily throwing instruments across the room,” said BMA representative body chair and BMA bullying and harassment project sponsor, Dr Anthea Mowat.
“But the experiences we have heard through the BMA’s bullying and harassment project show it can affect all kinds of doctor and medical student.
“We know that other staff in the NHS are affected too – one in four according to the NHS staff surveys.”
Paul Wallace, the director of employment relations and reward at NHS Employers, said it was “disheartening” to see that so many UK doctors suffer from bullying, undermining and harassment.
“This kind of behaviour in the NHS or any workplace is completely unacceptable, and we will continue to work with employers to make sure doctors feel supported to speak up, if they or their colleagues face mistreatment at work,” said Mr Wallace
“Our hardworking colleagues do great work under extreme pressure, and it is understandable that it may affect their mood, but it is not fair that this pressure should be compounded by bad behaviour.
“It is paramount that all NHS organisations, national and local, address and reduce bullying and create a supportive environment for doctors and all staff. We are glad to see the BMA is offering solutions in this report.”
Download a free ‘Bullying and harassment in the workplace’ employee factsheet, which discusses: What is bullying and harassment?, the impact of workplace bullying, the role of an employer, advice for combatting bullying, actions to take and provides some sources of help and information.
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