The World Medical Association is to take steps to address bullying in the medical workplace.
It comes after almost 200 delegates attending the Council’s annual meeting in Zambia last week heard there is “good evidence that disruptive and inappropriate behaviour and harassment were widespread in the medical workplace”, and occur across all specialties and at all levels of seniority.
Further evidence of such endemic bullying is documented in the medical literature, with one recent study published in theJournal of Women’s Health reporting 10 per cent of primary care doctors acknowledged bullying someone in the workplace, while 30 per cent had been personally bullied in the workplace. Compared to men, female primary care doctors were more likely to report being bullied overall and, specifically, to experience having their opinions ignored, lack of recognition for good work, feeling pressured not to claim rightful benefits, and being given unmanageable workload.
A proposed statement on bullying and harassment in the medical profession was brought before the Council by the New Zealand Medical Association. The Council has now agreed to prepare a new policy document on the issue which will be presented to the General Assembly for adoption in October.