29 May 2017
Auckland District Health Board (Auckland DHB) today signed a
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Royal Australasian
College of Surgeons (RACS) aimed at building respect and improving
patient safety in surgery.
The MoU, collaboration under the RACS 2015 Action Plan: Building
Respect, Improving Patient Safety, is the fourth such agreement
signed in New Zealand and represents a shared commitment by the
organisations to address discrimination, bullying and sexual
harassment in surgery and the health sector.
Professor Randall Morton, an Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgeon
and Chair of the RACS New Zealand National Board, said that it was
essential that organisations worked together to create safe
training and work environments, free from discrimination, bullying
and sexual harassment.
"In the past, bullying has been a real problem in surgery and in
the heath sector as a whole. It is essential, not only for the
well-being of our workforce but for the well-being of our patients
too, that we work together to build a culture of respect where all
healthcare professionals can realise their full potential free from
discrimination, bullying or sexual harassment."
Auckland DHB CEO Ailsa Claire said Auckland DHB Board and Managers
are committed to providing a safe and supportive workplace.
"Auckland DHB people are known and valued for our high quality work
and the care we give to our patients. Over the past few years we
have been on a journey together to improve our culture. This
includes the way we respond to bullying and unacceptable behaviour
and as importantly to celebrate and appreciate our staff," says
"The signing of this MOU coincides with our launch of Speak Up, a
programme inspired by the RACS work. Speak up was designed by a
diverse group of employees from across Auckland DHB led by our
Director of Surgical Services, Arend Merrie, and with union partner
support. It is an important programme that will help us work
together to confront harassment, discrimination and bullying, deal
with the issues, and remove them," Ailsa continues.
Specific initiatives in the MoU signed between Auckland DHB and
- Sharing information and resources between the two organisations
for education and training.
- Supporting greater diversity within the surgical
- Working together to ensure that surgeons and trainees are able
to undertake training and education in relation to discrimination,
bullying and sexual harassment.
- Sharing information about on how complaints relating to
unacceptable behaviour are managed.
In May 2016, RACS launched Let's Operate with Respect - a
campaign to help deal effectively with discrimination, bullying and
sexual harassment in surgery. RACS has also published a dedicated
new section of its website, About Respect.
Download full media release (PDF 251KB)