The GMC has launched a pilot programme to train doctors in how to tackle unprofessional behaviour from colleagues.
Announced at the GMC conference today, the pilot programme will be delivered face to face with doctors across the UK, and will provide doctors with the ‘skills and confidence to deal with unprofessional behaviour’ from colleagues.
The programme, called professional behaviours and patient safety training, will be delivered in ‘at least’ 14 sites by the GMC’s outreach teams.
It was developed in response to reports that unprofessional behaviour by some staff was having a direct impact on patients.
One study in 2008 found that 14% of doctors and nurses reported that they were aware of specific adverse events that related to disruptive behaviour from colleagues.
A GMC survey of over 1,000 doctors in 2016 also found that 40% felt that other doctors had undermined respect and prevented effective collaboration.
GMC chair Dame Clare Marx said: ‘All of the evidence shows us that when clinical environments are poorly-led unprofessional behaviour goes unchallenged and patient safety suffers.
‘We are acting on the evidence we have heard from clinicians and their experiences of unprofessional behaviour to give doctors the skills and confidence to lead the changes needed now and in the future to continue to deliver great patient care.
‘The vast majority of doctors act with great compassion and professionalism. If we equip them to challenge poor behaviour in others we will enable them to deliver the care they want to provide. Our aim is to create the right environment for safe professional practice and to support a profession under pressure to deliver good care,’ she added.
Chair of Healthwatch England, Sir Robert Francis, said: ‘Bullying and undermining stops everyone talking to each other. It makes people afraid so that they don’t share confidences or concerns, and that’s really dangerous for patients because unsafe practices are allowed to carry on.
‘We all need to role model the behaviours we can be proud of, but there needs to be training in how to have difficult conversations with each other.’
A study in September also found that doctors with burnout were twice as likely to make mistakes, such as incorrect diagnoses or wrong prescriptions.
The move also follows a ‘zero tolerance’ policy against abuse which was launched by health secretary Matt Hancock in October to try and better protect NHS staff against violence.