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Improving workplace behaviours: dealing with undermining

This section of the site provides information about the RCOG’s work to improve workplace behaviours by addressing undermining and bullying behaviour.

Undermining in obstetrics and gynaecology

Undermining and bullying behaviour has long been recognised as a problem for trainees in obstetrics and gynaecology (O&G), as shown by repeated General Medical Council (GMC) trainee surveys. O&G trainees report more undermining behaviour than any other medical specialty, which is a matter of concern.

The RCOG is committed to improving the workplace for the benefit of both staff and patients, and we want our trainees to feel valued and respected in their workplace. Find out more about the background to our improving workplace behaviours project.

Undermining toolkit 

In conjunction with the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), we have developed a freely accessible undermining toolkit to improve workplace behaviours. The toolkit includes good practice case studies of interventions that have reduced the incidence of bullying and undermining behaviours in O&G workplaces at various levels:

  • Strategic interventions that over-arching institutions such as the NHS, GMC and medical royal colleges can take
  • Unit, trust and local education provider interventions
  • Departmental and team interventions
  • Individual interventions, for both perpetrators and victims of undermining

Access the undermining toolkit here.

eLearning resource

The practical, interactive and free-to-access eLearning resource on improving workplace behaviour aims to raise awareness of undermining and bullying in the workplace and illustrate ways to tackle the problem.

RCOG Workplace Behaviours Advisor

In 2013, we appointed Dr Joanna Mountfield FRCOG as the College’s first Workplace Behaviours Advisor – the first medical royal college to make such an appointment. Our current Workplace Behaviours Advisor is Dr Rachna Bahl, who’s leading on our strategy to address undermining behaviours in O&G. To contact Rachna, please email Sophie Johnsson or call +44 20 7772 6448.

Workplace Behaviour Champions

There’s a Workplace Behaviour Champion in every school/deanery to help take forward our work to address undermining and bullying in the workplace.

The Champions are primarily a resource for trainees who want independent advice about any unacceptable behaviour they’re experiencing. We hope trainees who are experiencing undermining will feel able to approach the Champions early, so we can identify and address issues as soon as possible. If trainees work in the same unit as their local Champion and find external support more appropriate, they can contact Champions from neighbouring schools/deaneries.

The Workplace Behaviours Champions can access information to support them in their role here (you will need to be signed in to the website).

Other useful resources

Contact us

If you have any questions, or want more information, please contact Sakinah Takeram stakeram@rcog.org.uk

Elsewhere on the site

Advice and support for trainees
Information and resources to help support trainees throughout their training
Resources and support for trainers
Useful resources to help trainers deliver the specialty training programme in O&G