17 October 2017

The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) believes the medical profession must take a leadership role in condemning bullying and harassment, says NZMA Deputy Chair Prof Harvey White. “We are delighted that, at its recent meeting in Chicago, the World Medical Association (WMA) adopted the policy we put forward last year. The WMA is now providing leadership at an international level and encouraging other medical associations around the world to follow suit.”

The WMA has formally adopted the policy condemning bullying and harassment in the medical profession proposed by the NZMA at last year’s General Assembly.

“Bullying in the health workplace is entirely unprofessional and destructive, and should not be tolerated. It is time the profession took steps to prevent, confront, report and eliminate such behaviour at any level,” says WMA President, Dr Yoshitake Yokokura.

“This policy is based firmly on our 2010 position statement on this serious issue,” says NZMA Deputy Chair Prof Harvey White. “We believe it’s the responsibility of all in the profession to ensure that this destructive behaviour is not tolerated.

Delegates in Chicago agreed on a statement condemning bullying under any circumstances and encouraged all national medical association members, medical schools, employers and medical colleges to establish and implement anti-bullying and harassment policies.

“As the statement notes, professionalism is not just how we treat our patients, but how we treat each other. We recognise the significant barriers that exist to prevent people speaking out, but it is the responsibility of all of us to take action when we see bullying behaviour. We owe that to both our colleagues and patients.”