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Almost one in 10 trainees has been victim of bullying

Almost one in 10 doctors in training has been a victim of bullying or undermining behaviour during their medical education, a new GMC survey of 50,000 trainees has found.

The GMC report found that general practice had one of the most supportive training environments, with few trainees saying they were regularly victims of bullying and many saying their working environment ‘helps build the confidence of doctors in training’.

The report found 8% of trainees had experienced bullying, with more than half of those who had been bullied saying it came from a senior consultant or GP with their post. The report said that 13.6% of trainees had witnessed bullying behaviour.

The regulator said it would be investigating obstetrics and gynaecology departments, along with surgical departments, because of their high incidence of bullying.

The report states: ‘The majority of training environments are supportive, but bullying and undermining does happen. 8.0% of respondents reported experiencing bullying (n=49,994) and 13.6% reported witnessing bullying (n=49,883).’

It adds: ‘Bullying and undermining has a serious impact on the quality of training and on patient safety but there appears to be reluctance to speak out against it because of a fear of reprisals.’

GMC chief executive Nigel Dickson said: ‘There is a need to create a culture where bullying of any kind is simply not tolerated.

‘Apart from the damage it can do to individual self-confidence, it is likely to make these doctors much more reluctant to raise concerns. They need to feel able to raise the alarm and know that they will be listened to and action taken.’

Dr Kitty Mohan, co-chair of the BMA Junior Doctors Committee, said: ‘It is vitally important that the NHS fosters a culture in which doctors feel able to raise concerns about bad care or bullying. It is unacceptable that so many doctors in training continue to either experience or witness bullying.’

The number of trainees reporting they have experienced bullying has dropped slightly since the previous year when more than 10% of trainees said they had been subjected to it.