Tackling bad behaviour in the operating theatre

Future Surgery recently cast a light on bullying, discrimination, and sexual misconduct in the NHS, and discussed the efforts required to foster an inclusive culture to support staff wellbeing. Louise Frampton reports.

An impassioned debate at the Future Surgery conference recently highlighted the distress experienced by surgical staff arising from bullying, discrimination, and sexual misconduct taking place in operating theatres in the UK. The debate followed a number of high-profile surveys, studies and court cases, in recent years, which have revealed the extent of unacceptable behaviours in the surgical setting and wider NHS.

This thought-provoking session brought to the fore the experiences of individuals who have raised concerns that they have been the victims of bullying, discrimination, or sexual misconduct, and these personal accounts underscored how this may lead to feelings of distress, fear, and suicidal thoughts.

Such behaviour is detrimental to staff wellbeing and retention, jeopardises patient safety, leaves Trusts exposed to legal action and absenteeism, and undermines efforts to create inclusive, cohesive, and effective teamworking. So, how can we challenge the behaviour of others and, also, how can we challenge our own unconscious biases?

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