RCoA & AAGBI launch #KnockItOut

In support of #HammerItOut, a campaign by the British Orthopaedic Trainees Association (BOTA) to tackle bullying, harassment and undermining, the RCoA Trainee Committee and the AAGBI GAT (Group of Anaesthetists in Training) Committee today jointly launch #KnockItOut.

The results of the 2016 BOTA Census were stark: 43% of trainees had witnessed bullying while 70% had witnessed undermining behaviour. #HammerItOut aims to tackle these problems within Trauma and Orthopaedics (T&O).  Data regarding ‘supportive environment’ is collected annually for all specialties in the GMC National Training Survey (NTS).  Whilst anaesthesia is not an outlier in this domain, we are conscious that this is also true of T&O, and so we cannot be complacent.

The 2016 GMC NTS also reveals that some doctors feel they cannot speak up about bullying and undermining in the workplace. Despite only 1% of doctors using the survey to report bullying, undermining or harassment, a much larger number (2,818; 5%) of doctors said they experienced or saw bullying and undermining behaviour in their current post but did not want to report it in the NTS.

Bullying behaviour is unacceptable.  It is unprofessional and unnecessary. It affects the wellbeing of individuals and the teams within which they work.  As anaesthetists, we work in theatre teams with our surgical colleagues and anaesthetists of all grades may witness or be subjected to this behaviour.

Our surgical colleagues at BOTA and the Association of Surgeons in Training (ASiT) have started campaigns to raise awareness of the issues with #HammerItOut and #CutItOut respectively.  Today the AAGBI GAT Committee and the RCoA Trainee Committee are showing support for our colleagues by launching #KnockItOut. 

The shared aims of these campaigns are:

  • to create a positive workplace culture that is free from bullying, harassment and undermining behaviours
  • to nurture an environment that empowers individuals to speak up if they experience or witness unacceptable behaviours
  • to promote and share to demonstrate exemplar behaviours in the workplace and use these to model further improvements in the wider NHS culture
  • to inspire a positive culture change to improve patient care.

The starting point for these campaigns is to begin a dialogue around positive change.  We hope that by speaking up about this issue we can encourage others do the same. By promoting factors which contribute to a supportive environment we can work towards a positive workplace everywhere, every day for every specialty.

Whatever the specialty, bullying and undermining is never acceptable. Let’s #KnockItOut together.

More information about the BOTA #HammerItOut campaign, including their Statement of Intent can be found here.  

For definitions of bullying and undermining, advice regarding where to go for help and more information about this issue and the campaign please see our #KnockItOut FAQs here

Dr JP Lomas, Chair, RCoA Trainee Committee
Dr Emma Plunkett, Chair, AAGBI GAT Committee

03 May 2017

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