Harassment report a catalyst for action across medical profession

14 September, 2015

The AMA welcomes the release today of the draft report of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) Expert Advisory Group (EAG) on discrimination, bullying, and sexual harassment.

AMA President, Professor Brian Owler, said the report is a catalyst for every member of the medical profession to acknowledge the unacceptable behaviour that has occurred over a long period of time, and work together to build a stronger profession with more welcoming and cooperative workplaces.

"The RACS draft report provides a sobering picture of the extent of bullying, discrimination, and sexual harassment in the surgical workforce, but the problem is much wider," Owler said.

"The issue clearly cuts across the whole surgical workforce with College Fellows, trainees, and international medical graduates all reporting concerns.

"By establishing the EAG and issuing an apology, RACS is clearly taking a leadership role in tackling these issues.

"However, these issues go beyond the boundaries of surgical training, and are something the whole profession needs to confront and resolve.

"There needs to be a zero tolerance approach and close collaboration between all stakeholders - including employers, medical schools, unions, Colleges, and professional bodies - to drive the cultural changes required to stamp these problems out.

"We welcome the EAG's adoption of AMA suggestions, including the critical need to provide complainants with a safe place to come forward - free of the fear of retribution or stigma.

"The EAG report delivers some very sensible recommendations, and the AMA will continue to work with RACS and other stakeholders to ensure that we make real progress in this area," Owler said.