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A third of consultants are bullied, says survey

Back of doctor in hospital, 16x9, BMA news cover image

Almost one-in-three consultants feel bullied during their job-planning meetings with managers.

This is among the ‘deeply disturbing’ findings from a survey of senior doctors, which indicates half of all consultants had negative experiences of such meetings.

Female and male consultants from BME (black and minority ethnic) backgrounds had the worst experiences.

Four in 10 female and a quarter of male BME consultants said they had been bullied during their meetings, the survey found.

BMA consultants committee chair Rob Harwood described the findings as completely unacceptable and troubling.

‘The results of our survey do not make for pretty reading,' he said in a letter to local negotiating committee chairs this week.

‘The data we have suggests that there is a problem across the country. No responsible employer would ever tolerate the kinds of results that we have seen to date in our national survey,’ he added.

‘It suggests there are significant race as well as gender equality issues which must be addressed urgently.’


Raise the alarm

Dr Harwood urges LNC chairs in the letter to help gather more evidence of colleagues’ experiences of job planning and flag them with employers.

‘I very much hope that if you present your trust with detailed evidence of this kind of bullying,’ his letter states, ‘then it will have a clear responsibility to act decisively to safeguard the well-being of staff'.

The survey was launched in May following growing concerns among doctors about job planning. A follow-up survey has been circulated to LNC chairs.

Dr Harwood pointed to a recent speech by health secretary Matt Hancock in which he expressed his horror at the bullying of staff in the NHS.

‘People cannot be expected to deliver world-class care when facing bullying and harassment on this scale,’ the health secretary said.

‘The culture must change, the NHS will be the better for it and I am determined to lead this change from the top.’

CC will hold Mr Hancock to his word, Dr Harwood said.

‘Every employee deserves to be treated with respect and dignity while at work.

'The BMA is committed to raising awareness of all forms of bullying and harassment and the consequences for doctors’ well-being and patient care,’ he added.

‘We want to ensure there is a clear understanding of the issues and people are confident to raise concerns and report problems when they do occur.’

Read more about the CC’s work on job planning

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