Hospital Dr News

Many SAS doctors are commonly bullied, undermined and harassed in the NHS

SAS and trust grade doctors are commonly facing rudeness, incivility, belittling and humiliation in the workplace.

That’s the conclusion of ground-breaking GMC research which has surveyed for the work experiences of this challenged group of doctors for the first time.

They represent one in six UK doctors.

Thirty per cent of SAS doctors and 23% of their trust grade counterparts had been bullied, undermined or harassed at work in the last year, either by colleagues or by patients and their families.

Rudeness and incivility, and belittling and humiliation, were the most common types of undermining behaviour reported.

Around one in six respondents reported suffering threatening or insulting comments or behaviour.

Where bullying related to protected characteristics, race was the most commonly-cited factor.

Many doctors replied ‘no’ or ‘not sure’ when asked if they knew how to raise a concern about such treatment.

Commenting on the research, Professor Jackie Taylor, President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, said: “These findings make grim reading for the medical profession and everyone concerned with providing the best possible care for patients.

“We now need a concerted effort by employers, regulators and others in the sector to act on this research and address this unacceptable behaviour within the health serve once and for all.”

Charlie Massey, the GMC’s Chief Executive, the regulator was working with other organisations to explore the findings in more detail.

“We will use the results to help strengthen the support that is already available, and to identify where more can be done to address the issues raised,” he said.

Dr Amit Kochhar, Staff, Associate Specialists and Specialty doctors Committee (SASC) chair at the BMA, said: “In 2014, the BMA, along with NHS Employers, Health Education England, and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, published the SAS charter, dedicated to providing greater development and working opportunities for SAS doctors.

“While many employers recognise the charter and the needs of this important part of the workforce, today’s survey has made clear that more needs to be done to ensure all SAS and locally employed doctors are properly listened to, appreciated, and above all, valued.”

He added that the BMA is about to enter formal negotiations with NHS Employers and DHSC to achieve improvements to the SAS contracts in England and Wales, which is likely to include making the pay scale better suited to a career average pension scheme, introducing new safeguards to protect work-life balance, and improving options for training and career development.

Read the full survey.

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