12 Sep 2023

The unacceptable behaviours catalogued in the British Journal of Surgery have no place in surgery

The unacceptable behaviours catalogued in the British Journal of Surgery have no place in surgery, or indeed in wider Society. Everyone should have a basic right to work in a safe & respectful environment without fear. Each and everyone of us must act with integrity, take responsibility and call this out.

The British Orthopaedic Association (BOA) is committed to a change in the culture within the profession to illuminate, report and to prevent such behaviours, which are detrimental to the well-being of individuals, compromises patient safety and is a barrier to creating an inclusive environment.  Whilst the majority of reported cases are from women, the issue of sexual harassment of men is recognised as equally unacceptable.

Working with NHS and other employers, regulators and other surgical bodies, the BOA will continue to seek to address failures by members of the profession and others to change the culture whereby victims are afraid to report the behaviour of colleagues, especially of those in positions of power over their future career, and the inadequate response to reported incidents by employing organisations.

The BOA will work with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and, if established as recommended by the Working Party on Sexual Misconduct in Surgery (WPSMS), the National Implementation Panel to take forward the recommendations in Panel’s report, ‘Breaking the Silence’ to reform the reporting and investigation processes of sexual misconduct in healthcare, to improve safety and confidence in raising concerns and to ensure investigations are external, independent and fit for purpose.

We have written to all of our members earlier this year regarding acceptable behaviours and to remind them that that they are able to contact us in a confidential manner if they need additional support.

The BOA has signposted a selection of support lines and resources that are freely available here.