BMA report

Bullying and harassment report: Policy, research and recommendations

BMA policy recommendations on how to reduce bullying and harassment and create a more positive culture in the NHS and medical profession.

Location: UK
Audience: All doctors
Updated: Monday 7 September 2020
Topics: Discrimination and harassment
Discrimination crossed out circle illustration

This bullying and harassment report, launched at our conference in November 2018, is a reflection of what we have learned and what needs to happen across the profession. It sets out key issues that need addressing, and recommendations for change.


What you'll get from this report

  • Insights from doctors and medical students who have experienced bullying and harassment.
  • Evidence of the impact of bullying and harassment in the workplace.
  • Recommendations in three key areas to combat bullying and harassment.


Key findings

  • 22% of NHS doctors and dentists experienced bullying, harassment or abuse from other staff in the preceding 12 months, (this compares to 24% for all NHS staff) according to the NHS England Staff Survey (2016).
  • Although NHS Scotland and Wales staff survey findings suggest lower levels of workplace bullying and harassment, compared to NHS England, in Northern Ireland, the HSCNI survey suggests similar levels to England.
  • The NHS England Staff Survey found that, by grade, 23% of consultants, 20% of trainees and 24% of other doctors and dentists (including SAS grade doctors) had experienced workplace bullying, harassment or abuse in the previous year.
  • Disabled staff in the NHS are the most likely to experience bullying or harassment (32%)

  • Followed by LGBT staff (27-30%)

  • Black staff and those from some other minority ethnic groups are more likely to be targeted than white staff (24% of BME staff as a whole compared to 22% of white staff).

  • Women are slightly more likely to be on the receiving end than men (23% compared to 21%). However, other research shows that women doctors are significantly more likely to suffer sexual harassment in their careers than men.

  • How to end the silence around bullying and harassment
  • How to improve the resolution of problems
  • How to create a more inclusive and supportive culture
  • Definitions of bullying and harassment
  • The BMA's bullying and harassment project