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RCOG release: New interactive eLearning resource launched to address undermining and bullying in the workplace

News 5 March 2015

A new practical and interactive eLearning resource on Improving Workplace Behaviour, aimed at raising awareness of undermining and bullying in the workplace and illustrating ways to tackle the problem, is launched today by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG).

The new eTutorial forms part of the College’s commitment to addressing this issue which has been highlighted in recent General Medical Council (GMC) trainee surveys. In September 2013 the RCOG published a joint statement with the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) outlining both Colleges’ commitment to reducing undermining and bullying behaviour in the workplace.

Wide ranging research has been undertaken on the prevalence and effects of bullying, harassment and undermining in the NHS. The Illing report from 2013, for example, found that around 15% of NHS staff report experiencing bullying from other staff members. The 2014 NHS staff survey published last week reported 24% of staff were subjected to similar behaviour.

This new eLearning resource aims to help healthcare professionals, in particular trainees and trainers, become more aware of the difficult issues surrounding undermining and bullying in the workplace, and illustrate various methods on how to tackle this.

The video-based resource includes six interactive case studies based on real-life scenarios allowing learners to reflect more deeply on various issues such as professional dialogue, the effect of culture on relationships and giving feedback.

At the end of the resource users are encouraged to develop individual and personalised SMART objectives. There is also a section on support and who to turn to if a person feels bullied/undermined.

Dr Clare Mckenzie, RCOG Vice President for Education said:

“Trainees within our specialty have reported cases of undermining more than other specialties and we take this very seriously. 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.

“This resource further contributes to our overall aim to promote a positive working environment for all, leading to improved training and patient care and safety.”

Dr Jo Mountfield, Consultant Obstetrician, Director of Education at University Hospital Southampton, Head of School at Health Education Wessex and the RCOG Workplace Behaviours Advisor, said:

“The case studies in this eTutorial, which can be used by individuals or as part of a teaching package, will help broaden the understanding of the issues and help professionals consider ways in which they can change and act to make a difference.

“The resource will also enable healthcare professionals to recognise potential factors which may contribute to an unpleasant and ineffective working environment and help avert such situations”

“The RCOG has a network of Workplace Behaviour Champions for trainees who want independent advice about any unacceptable behaviour they are experiencing and we can therefore identify and address any issues urgently.”


For further information, please contact the RCOG Media and PR team on +44 20 7772 6300 or email


The eLearning resource is a complementary resource to the Undermining Toolkit which was launched last year and CPD points can be claimed for completing it. To access the eLearning resource, please visit the StratOG website.

The joint RCOG/RCM undermining toolkit is available here.

For more information on RCOG Workplace Behaviour Champions, please click here.