Bully surgeons in Australia watch out! Serious offenders will be referred to police

Australia’s medical community may soon be flooded with calls and complaints about bully doctors and surgeons, following recent studies and reports about bullying, sexual harassment and the harsh culture in the medical field.  Given the alarming number of bullying victims among doctors, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons employed the expertise of an advisory group to further study the issue and provide recommendations on how to address workplace bullying.

In a research conducted by the expert advisory group, survey data showed that 54 percent of surgical trainees said they recently experienced being bullied, wherein most of them are women and people new to the profession.  Even highly tenured doctors were not exempt from workplace bullying, since 31 percent of the respondents said they were bullied.  As for women, the survey indicated that 6 out of 10 women were bullied, while 3 in 10 experienced sexual harassment.

Graeme Campbell, Vice President of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, are now calling on victims to speak out about their experiences, even if the bullying is at its early stages. This way, he said, bully doctors would be dealt with “relatively informally in an educational way.”  Campbell added that many of the alleged work place bullies would likely be good people who may need to be mentored or given feedback about their behavior. However, Campbell warned that serious offenders will be reported to the police, the Medical Board of Australia, or an equal opportunity commission.

To learn more about the results of the survey and the college’s plan to address the issue, click here.