The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons today released the draft report of an expert advisory group on discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment in the practice of surgery.

The 19 page draft report draws together the findings and feedback from five major pieces of work commissioned by the EAG in 2015, all of which are published on the College website and include quantitative, qualitative and organisational research.

Quoting from the executive summary, surprisingly the research found that:

  • 49% of Fellows, trainees and international medical graduates report being subjected to discrimination, bullying or sexual harassment
  • 54% of trainees and 45% of Fellows less than 10 years post-fellowship report being subjected to bullying
  • 71% of hospitals reported discrimination, bullying or sexual harassment in their hospital in the last five years, with bullying the most frequently reported issue
  • 39% of Fellows, trainees and international medical graduates report bullying, 18% report discrimination, 19% report workplace harassment and 7% sexual harassment
  • the problems exist across all surgical specialties and
  • senior surgeons and surgical consultants are reported as the primary source of these problems.

The three recommendations made focus on cultural change & leadership, education and complaints processes.

ABC News reports that the RACS has accepted all the report’s findings and promised an action plan by November. Changes will include increasing “transparency and external scrutiny of the college, making it safe for people to make a complaint and improving surgical education and training”.

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