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RCOG statement: General Medical Council report on undermining and bullying

News 5 March 2015

Today, the General Medical Council (GMC) has published Building A Supportive Environment: A Review to Tackle Undermining and Bullying in Medical Education and Training, which outlines the findings from a series of undermining and bullying check visits to obstetrics and gynaecology and surgical units across the UK.

The RCOG has noted with concern the high levels of bullying and undermining behaviour reported by trainee obstetrics and gynaecology doctors in the GMC Trainee Survey over a period of years and we became the first medical Royal College to appoint a Workplace Behaviours Advisor, Dr Joanna Mountfield FRCOG, in 2013.

Since then the College has established a network of regional undermining champions to help trainees and has worked with our colleagues in the Royal College of Midwives to develop a toolkit of resources to help individuals and organisations. These activities and interventions challenge people about their behaviour and provide information regarding constructive action that can be taken to end the practice.

We assisted the GMC in preparing for these visits by suggesting a list of possible units for the GMC to visit based on evidence we hold and consultation. The GMC made the final decision as to which units to visit and the RCOG’s Workplace Behaviours Advisor, Dr Joanna Mountfield FRCOG, was a member of the GMC visit panel.

The RCOG looks forward to working further with the RCM, the GMC and other partners in seeking to end this unacceptable practice.

Dr Clare McKenzie, RCOG Vice President for Education says:

“We warmly welcome the publication of the GMC’s report; the Council’s constructive efforts to tackle undermining and bullying; and its clear guidance to individual sites, regarding how they can make improvements to their education and training, including through the use of best practice. We will continue to be very pro-active in tackling undermining and bullying in the workplace, including; by raising awareness of these practices and encouraging people to utilise the resources we have made available to help end them.

“We have launched today a new practical and interactive eLearning resource to help improve workplace behaviours, educate and support trainees and trainers about undermining and bullying in the workplace and prevent such practices.”


The eLearning resource is being launched today. For more information, please click here.