Obstetricians and Gynaecologists join with Surgeons to build Respect

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23 September 2016

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) have signed a Letter of Agreement in a show of collaboration 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.

RANZCOG President Professor Michael Permezel said that the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons was to be commended for the leadership they have shown in promptly and determinedly taking steps to address this very important issue.

"The sharing of resources across both Colleges is a major step forward in making our workplaces safer for all," Prof Permezel said.

The Letter of Agreement is underpinned by the shared objective of ensuring patient safety and delivery of quality frontline services and the 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.
  • 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 free of DBSH.

Collaborating with stakeholders to build respect in surgery is one of RACS' core commitments in its Action Plan: Building Respect, Improving Patient Safety.

The Action Plan is the cornerstone of RACS' response to the recommendations of the 2015 Expert  Advisory Group into DBSH in the practice of surgery.

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 171KB)