The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) have joined forces to try and eradicate bullying and undermining behaviour in the workplace through a new web-based toolkit.
Previous General Medical Council (GMC) trainee surveys have shown that undermining and bullying behaviour is a problem for trainees in obstetrics and gynaecology.
The GMC’s most recent report covers bullying and undermining behaviour and their plans to work with others to combat this kind of behaviour in clinical environments.
In September 2013, RCOG and the RCM published a joint statement outlining both college’s commitment to reducing undermining and bullying behaviour in the workplace.
The new bullying toolkit is a free comprehensive resource providing links to information and resources to help tackle undermining behaviour in the workplace. It is aimed at trainees, members, fellows, midwives, nurses and GPs and is also applicable to other specialties at an individual as well as a trust and strategic level.
The toolkit is multi-disciplinary as undermining and bullying behaviour is a problem across all healthcare professions.
It includes advice on what to do if someone is experiencing bullying or undermining and it gives advice on how to prevent it in within the department or workplace. The content also provides information about successful workshops that have been run in maternity departments and by deaneries to help raise awareness and promote changes in behaviour.
Dr Jo Mountfield is a consultant obstetrician and director of education at University Hospital Southampton. She is also head of school at Health Education Wessex and is the RCOG workplace behaviours advisor. She said:
“A culture of undermining and bullying has been, and continues to be a prevalent concern within the NHS. Both the RCOG and the RCM are committed to addressing this and we are doing all we can to help our trainees and members. This new toolkit is one way we can help combat the problem and raise awareness of it.
“Undermining and bullying behaviour can have a profound negative mental and psychological impact on doctors, thus creating difficulties both in the workplace and in their personal relationships.
“It is vital that a doctor can work to the best of their ability and this Toolkit will assist in achieving this by ensuring that those experiencing undermining behaviour or tasked with tackling it have easy access to helpful resources.”
Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the RCM, said: “There is a real need to ensure that inappropriate behaviours within the NHS are addressed quickly, efficiently and in the right way. Ideally they would not happen in the first place and this toolkit can help to stop it occurring.
“Also, bullying and undermining behaviour not only affects the individual concerned, it can also have an impact on their ability to deliver the best possible care to people using NHS services. This is why this toolkit is so important and we hope that Trusts will use it so that behaviours such as this are prevented or stopped, allowing staff to concentrate their energies on providing care.”
View the toolkit here.