New proposals have been published by the GMC to help tackle toxic working cultures and to promote safer, more compassionate environments. Doctors will be expected to report bullying and discrimination, as well as working towards making healthcare more supportive, inclusive and fair.
Speaking at the GMC Conference (4 May 2022), Professor Dame Carrie MacEwen, acting chair of council, recently highlighted the importance of tackling behaviours in the workplace that can compromise patient safety.
She pointed out that there have been some disturbing reports of large-scale failures in healthcare systems, with devastating consequences for patients. The Ockenden report into maternity care is the latest example. However, it follows a number of other high-profile investigations – from Morecombe Bay, and the Cumberlege report, to the Mid Staff Inquiry. There is one common link shared by all of these damning reports into healthcare failures – the workplace culture.
“There might be bullying, poor communication, a lack of respect for colleagues, lack of transparency or just plain bad leadership. But ultimately, those things all add up to one common overall sum – that of a toxic culture,” she commented.“When we listen to what doctors tell us about their work, we can see that workplace culture has a huge impact not only on their job satisfaction, but more importantly on their ability to care for patients – a double whammy, as failure to provide optimal care results in more psychological trauma to the doctors involved.
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