BMA Scotland's council chair has called for urgent action to stamp out bullying and harassment in the health service.
Dr Lewis Morrison said it is a ‘scandal’ that a culture of bullying and harassment should be allowed to thrive in the NHS, and warned of its repercussions for patient care.
This year the BMA is expected to launch a major initiative to understand doctors’ experience of this bullying and harassment in the workplace, to investigate the causes, and find solutions. The organisation is calling on other stakeholders, including the Scottish Government and NHS managers, to work together to make Scotland’s NHS a more positive place to work, including a summit planned for early summer.
In a recent BMA survey of members, 38 per cent said that bullying and harassment is an issue in their workplaces, while a combination of high vacancy rates and real-terms pay cuts have led to doctors feeling undervalued.
“In any workplace, these levels of bullying would be extremely worrying. In the health service, where what we do can make the difference between life and death, it is nothing less than a scandal,” Dr Morrison said.
“We have heard plenty of reassuring words on this, in particular from the Scottish Government, yet our survey of members still found that one quarter would fear speaking out about bullying. Again, that figure is far too high,” he said.
“If we are to truly address this issue there must be greater efforts to ensure doctors feel able to speak out about instances of bullying without fear of what may happen to their careers as a result.”