This site is intended for health professionals only

Half of doctors have faced bullying at work

Over half of doctors surveyed by the BMA say they have been bullied by a patient while at work, according to a report published this week

Bullying behaviour cited by survey respondents ranged from rudeness and demanding behaviour all the way to physical violence.

The poll also found that doctors were bullied by colleagues, including other doctors or nurses as well as patients.

One respondent said: ‘While the stereotype is of junior doctors being bullied by seniors, I also come across senior doctors being remorselessly bullied by juniors.’

The survey of 75 doctors from around the country also revealed that over a quarter of those affected by bullying chose not to report abuse meted out by patients or colleagues.

A Belfast GP, who asked to remain anonymous, said: ‘Patients bully doctors regularly in getting their way. Too often, we give in because a complaint, however unjustified, is damaging and can cause misery and heartache for months or years.’

The BMA’s Counselling and Doctors Advice Service offers a free, confidential service for doctors affected by bullying in the workplace, the report added.