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Up to one-in-five trainee surgeons experience bullying and undermining

On average, 17 per cent of trainees had such experiences in their current post. Some 18 per cent of higher surgical trainees, 20 per cent of core surgical trainees (year two) and 14 per cent of core surgical trainees (year one) said they had personally experienced a form of bullying/undermining/harassment in their current post.

However, 9 per cent of higher surgical trainees, 11 per cent of core surgical trainees (year two) and 5 per cent of core surgical trainees (year one) preferred not to answer this question. Some 73 per cent of higher surgical trainees, 70 per cent of core surgical trainees (year two) and 80 per cent of core surgical trainees (year two) said they had not experienced this in their current post.

Asked if they had witnessed someone else being the victim of bullying/undermining/harassment while in their current post, 31 per cent of higher surgical trainees, 26 per cent of core surgical trainees (year two) and 35 per cent of core surgical trainees (year one) confirmed they had.

This question was not answered by 11 per cent of higher surgical trainees, 11 per cent of core surgical trainees (year two) and 9 per cent of core surgical trainees (year one). Some 58 per cent of higher surgical trainees, 63 per cent of core surgical trainees (year two) and 65 per cent of core surgical trainees (year one) said they had not witnessed such behaviour.

In 2016, the Medical Council’s Your Training Counts survey found that 36 per cent of trainees across specialties felt bullied or harassed in their training posts, noted the RCSI.

The trainee portal contains key resources and information for trainees who may be experiencing inappropriate behaviour, stated the College’s spokesperson.

The RCSI and RCPI have also launched a project “looking at establishing a culture of civility and professionalism in training hospitals”.

It will involve research into staff wellbeing in one hospital site, including information on bullying and inappropriate behaviour.

“We will use this information to inform the development of a framework of interventions for embedding a civil, supportive and professional culture… We are designing this framework so that it can be rolled-out to all hospitals in Ireland.”

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