The Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) have signed a Letter of Agreement that confirms a collaborative approach toward building respect in the medical workplace and eliminating discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment (DBSH).

RACS President Philip Truskett said research has shown that bad behaviour has a negative impact on the whole team and not just the people at which it's directed. This agreement is an important step towards improving patient safety and work environments.

"It is a shared commitment to providing high quality training and a safe shared working environment to our respective Trainees, Fellows and International Medical Graduates," Mr Truskett said.

ANZCA President Professor David A Scott said that the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons was to be commended for the leadership they have shown in taking significant steps to address this very important issue.

"Anaesthetists and surgeons work closely together on a daily basis. A collaborative approach is the most effective way to improve workplace behaviours and make workplaces appropriately respectful

"This commitment is underpinned by our collective objectives of advancing training, education, research and professional standards in our respective specialties, and our sharing of resources and educational opportunities is a major step forward in making our workplaces safer for all," Professor Scott said.

The Letter of Agreement confirms that both parties agree to:

  • Mutually support each other in activities that promote respect and counter DBSH
  • Share information and resources regarding the education and training available in relation to DBSH
  • Enable use of educational resources developed by either college on a case-by-case basis
  • Collaborate on the development of programs and processes to deal with DBSH in the health sector
  • Maintain a code of conduct with an associated framework and relevant policies
  • Foster greater diversity within each other's specialty and share relevant information
  • Work together to provide training, assessment, feedback and support to Trainees and IMGs that is free of DBSH.