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UK health organisations launch an anti-bullying and undermining resource

News 4 April 2019

A new resource that brings together the range of work being conducted across the medical professions to eradicate workplace bullying is being launched by a coalition of leading health organisations today.

Over a quarter of NHS staff in England experienced bullying by a colleague in the last year, and research estimates that it costs the health service at least £2.4 billion per annum.

Bullying not only affects those on the receiving end, but has potential consequences for patient care.

A number of organisations – including Royal Medical Colleges – have come together to create an informal alliance to tackle bullying and undermining, to share best practice and to raise awareness of the freely available toolkits, courses and help available.

The alliance document will be sent to all NHS bodies throughout the UK. The participants are keen to ensure that as many people, NHS staff and decision makers take up and share the support on offer.

The resource is being launched to coincide with Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh’s (RCSEd’s) joint event on “Tackling Undermining and Bullying in the NHS”, which will take place on Thursday 4 April 2019.

This is the third event that forms part of the RCOG and RCSEd’s collaborative work on tackling undermining and bullying.

Speakers at the event have a range of experience from both within the NHS and in other sectors. They will discuss their own experiences and share effective solutions that can tackle bullying and undermining.

Professor Mike Griffin OBE, President of The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh said:

“The anti-bullying alliance recognises that no one organisation has all the answers but that by working in partnership through and with health care staff across the UK, we can together help create the culture and leadership needed to eradicate bullying. This will not only help staff recruitment and retention and raise morale, but will also improve patient care.

“All of the organisations included in this document are committed to promoting kindness and respect from how staff are recruited, ensuring they have the right values and then throughout their careers by building kindness and respect into training and development. “

Dr Alison Wright, Consultant Obstetrician and Vice President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said:

“The welfare of the medical workforce is absolutely vital to ensure the safest care for our patients. The RCOG acknowledges that, like many other specialties, we are experiencing workforce shortages, while responding to increasing demands on the healthcare service. One of the most effective ways to address shortages and enhance the quality of care for patients, is to improve the welfare of the workforce – and this means addressing bullying and undermining.

“Through a number of initiatives, including Supporting Our Doctors, our aim is to ensure all healthcare professionals, regardless of their status and position, are treated with dignity and compassion, and to ensure the safest care for women, girls and their families.”

Note to Editors

For media enquiries, please contact the RCOG press office on 020 7045 6773 or email

The document can be found at and organisations interested in joining the anti-bullying alliance should contact

  • Tackling Undermining and Bullying in the NHS will take place on Thursday 4 April 2019 at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. For more information, visit the website.
  • The RCOG’s annual Workforce report further outlines the challenges facing the obstetrics and gynaecology profession and the commitments the College is making to address them.
  • A study shows the NHS costs associated with bullying and undermining. BMJ 2018; 363 doi:

About the RCOG
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is a medical charity that champions the provision of high quality women’s healthcare in the UK and beyond. It is dedicated to encouraging the study and advancing the science and practice of obstetrics and gynaecology. It does this through postgraduate medical education and training and the publication of clinical guidelines and reports on aspects of the specialty and service provision.