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Medical students encouraged by Surgeon’s apology on bullying

12 September 2015

PRESS RELEASE – New Zealand Medical Students’ Association

For Immediate Release

Medical students are encouraged by Surgeon’s apology on bullying, but calls for more action to combat issue

New Zealand Medical Students’ Association (NZMSA) President Elizabeth Berryman says she is encouraged by the release of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeon’s draft report on bullying and sexual harassment.

‘The report confirms what everyone has known for a long time – that bullying and sexual harassment is widespread in our hospitals” says President Elizabeth Berryman.

The report shows 49% of Fellows, trainees and international medical graduates report being subjected to discrimination, bullying or sexual harassment. ‘We are not surprised by these results and they are in agreement with our final survey data of 4th, 5th and 6 year clinical students which show that 54% of medical students have faced bullying or sexual harassment’ she says.

NZMSA welcomes the release of the report and calls on other Specialist Colleges to conduct their own investigations and issue apologies if appropriate and develop policy and procedures to eradicate bullying and harassment. NZMSA also believes that medical students are in a particularly vulnerable position at the bottom of the medical hierarchy.

‘As students we are at the bottom of the medical hierarchy and make particularly easy targets for bullying and sexual harassment, with no way to fight back or safely lay complaints’. The survey results show only 13% of students have actually reported the bullying to anyone.

‘NZMSA calls on DHBs and Specialist Colleges to acknowledge the vulnerability of students by implementing anonymous or safe reporting measures so students feel they can come speak out when bullied. Right now, medical students put their future career prospects on the line by speaking out’ says Elizabeth Berryman.

ENDS

Survey results [PDF]

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