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One-in-five trainees report ‘no action’ following bullying complaints – Medical Council survey

By Catherine Reilly - 21st Jan 2022 | 136 views

Circle from wooden figures and red figure. Discrimination or harassment concept.

Almost one-in-five of trainees who were bullied in post told a person in authority, but “nothing happened”. A further 7 per cent informed a person in authority and did not know what happened subsequently, while 6.6 per cent told someone in authority and action was taken, according to data in the Medical Council’s recently published Your Training Counts report covering 2019/2020.

Some 67 per cent of trainees did not tell anyone in authority about the bullying. This high level of non-reporting has been “a consistent feature since the question began to be asked in 2015”, stated the Council report. Overall, just under one-third (32.8 per cent) of respondents in 2019 reported that they had experienced bullying and harassment in their post. This represented a decrease of 8.1 percent from 2017 (40.9 per cent). A higher proportion of female respondents (33.7 per cent) than males (31.3 per cent) reported being bullied.

Bullying and harassment were not specifically defined as terms, but were open to the interpretation shaped by personal experience of each trainee who responded. Over half (54.2 per cent) of respondents had witnessed a colleague being subjected to bullying or harassment, while 1.8 per cent of trainees reported witnessing such incidents on a daily basis.

Consultants represented 28.6 per cent of alleged perpetrators of bullying behaviour, while nurses and midwives represented just under one-third of alleged bullying perpetrators (30.3 per cent), as reported by respondents. A higher percentage (23.7 per cent) of those who had experienced bullying reported their own health as being less than good, compared to 12 per cent of those who had never been bullied. Over 40 per cent of respondents (41.5 per cent) who were bullied were also involved in an adverse event, while 26.7 per cent of those who were not bullied were involved in an adverse event.

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