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Workplace behaviours project: development and background

This page provides some background to our improving workplace behaviours project.

September 2013

In September 2013, the RCOG and RCM issued a joint statement on undermining (PDF, 885 kb), which has received positive feedback. This was last updated in October 2015.

The RCOG and RCM also established a steering group to implement an action plan to address undermining behaviour. Progress to date includes:

  • Appointment of Dr Joanna Mountfield FRCOG as Workplace Behaviours Advisor
  • Two workshops with the RCOG College Tutors Network to discuss undermining in detail and undertake group work based on real-life case studies, which were very well received – read the notes from the discussion
  • Establishment of a UK-wide Workplace Advisory Network, which includes members from all Schools and Deaneries and both trainee and patient representation
  • Close working with the GMC and the Lead Dean for O&G, Professor Simon Gregory, who are both fully supportive of our plans
  • Putting procedures in place to collect data on incidences of undermining behaviour which are brought to our attention

The steering group’s initial key priorities include:

  • Developing a toolkit of measures that can be taken locally to reduce undermining behaviour, which will be sent to all O&G departments in the UK
  • Further work with the GMC to identify units that appear to have a problem, then working with the GMC and Deaneries to provide support to those units
  • Seeking funding to support academic research into undermining, to increase understanding of why undermining occurs and enable the development of effective strategies to eliminate it

November 2013

Dr Joanna Mountfield FRCOG, RCOG Workplace Behaviours Advisor, and Ms Jacque Gerrard, Director RCM England, gave a joint presentation at the Annual RCM Conference on 14 November 2013.

December 2013

The GMC published a report highlighting undermining issues arising from the 2013 National Training Survey:

February 2014

On 14 February 2014, the RCOG and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) held a second workshop on undermining led by Dr Joanna Mountfield FRCOG, the College’s Workplace Behaviours Advisor. The workshop’s aim was to generate a draft toolkit to improve workplace behaviours, which was one of the major joint projects agreed by the RCOG and the RCM at the start of this project.

November 2014

In November 2014 the RCOG/RCM toolkit was completed, published and made freely available on the RCOG website.

March 2015

The GMC published its report Building a Supportive Environment: A Review to Tackle Undermining and Bullying in Medical Education and Training on 5 March 2015. The RCOG worked with the GMC in undertaking visits to six departments of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

The RCOG also completed an innovative eLearning package in March 2015, which is freely available on the website. The resource aims to develop understanding and provide practical ideas and advice to all staff, with a particular focus on trainees in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. The eLearning package was shortlisted for an Association award in December 2015.

May 2016

Dr Joanna Mountfield completed her tenure as the first RCOG Workplace Behaviours Advisor, and Dr Rachna Bahl, previous Champion for Severn, was appointed as the new RCOG Workplace Behaviours Advisor.

June 2016

Supported by the RCOG, Mr Tariq Shabazz, previous Education Policy Assistant, undertook a research project focussing on undermining and bullying behaviour experienced by consultants in the specialty. The research was published in BMJ Open on 20 June 2016.

Find out more

Visit the main improving workplace behaviours page for information about the outputs of the project.

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