Female Surgeons are Targets of NHS Sexual Harassment

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NHS Sexual Harassment
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A major analysis of NHS staff has found large numbers of female surgeons are being sexually harassed, assaulted and in some cases raped by colleagues. As a result of the hierarchical nature of surgery departments, there is a pattern of female trainees being abused by senior male surgeons.

Furthermore, the results of the analysis show that nearly two-thirds of women surgeons have been targets for sexual harassment. Concerningly, a third had been sexually assaulted by colleagues in just the past five years.

As a result of the high volumes of sexual abuse, NHS staff are showing increasing distrust in bodies such as the NHS Trusts, General Medical Council, and the Royal Colleges.

Culture of Silence Regarding NHS Sexual Harassment

It is widely acknowledged in the NHS that there is a culture of silence around sexual harassment. Surgical training in the NHS relies on trainees learning from senior colleagues in the operating theatre. As a result of this, female trainees find it risky to speak out against those who have power and influence over the future careers.

The report is being published in the British Journal of Surgery. The following figures show the scale of the NHS Sexual Harassment in the workplace.

Registered surgeons were invited to take part completely anonymously in which 1,434 responded. Half the surgeons who responded were women:

  • 63% of women had been the target of sexual harassment from colleagues.
  • 30% of women had been sexually assaulted by a colleague.
  • 11% of women reported forced physical contact related to career opportunities.
  • At least 11 incidents of rape were reported.
  • 90% of women, and 81% of men, had witnessed some form of sexual misconduct.

Breaking the Silence Report: Addressing Sexual Misconduct in Healthcare

Alongside the report published by the British Journal of Surgery, a second report has been carried out. The ‘Breaking the Silence’ report is helping the NHS by making recommendations of what needs to change.

The reports indicate that a combination of a lower percentage of women surgeons (28%) and the hierarchical nature of this area of the NHS creates a power imbalance. Furthermore, the power balance combined with the high-pressure environment of the surgery, results in male surgeons committing acts of sexual harassment and behaviour going unchecked.

Policies and Procedures for Employers

There is a lot of progress needing to be made to protect female staff so that they can work in a safe environment. Therefore, as an employer, it’s crucial to adopt and enforce policies and procedures which encourage all staff of different seniority levels to report any wrongdoings that they are witness to. It’s important that staff feel they can make a report without any fear of discrimination or victimisation.

Being proactive in responding to staff complaints or concerns is essential for building trust and confidence as an employer. It involves promptly and appropriately addressing these issues to maintain a positive work environment.

How Our Workplace Sexual Harassment Lawyers Can Help Your Claim

Our expert workplace sexual harassment lawyers are available to support you through your claim, making sure you receive the justice and compensation you deserve.

Your personal solicitor will guide you through the legal process. Our solicitors will help with choosing the best options to aid in the success of your claim. At AWH, we believe that sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious matter and should not be ignored. Therefore, our workplace sexual harassment lawyers will work closely with you, holding those who are responsible for the harassment accountable.

Get in contact with our team of solicitors to start your claim.

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