Bullying and harassment in the workplace is BMA Cymru Wales' response to growing concerns amongst Welsh GPs that bullying and harassment is on the increase.
Launching the guidance document, chairman of BMA Cymru Wales' GP Committee, Dr Andrew Dearden said: "Unwanted and unprofessional behaviour in the workplace that is intimidating, degrading and offensive is simply not acceptable. GPs suffer from bullying and harassment like any other profession. According to recent surveys of NHS staff, one in four NHS staff reported experiencing bullying and harassment in the previous 12 months from patients or their relatives and 15 per cent reported a similar experience from other NHS staff.
"Bullying and harassment is not just confined to individuals - more worrying, there is growing evidence that GPs and practices are regularly bullied by NHS bodies like local health boards. An increasingly highly competitive NHS under increasing scrutiny from both government and the public to improve transparency is having an adverse impact on the lives of GPs - this must not be allowed to continue."
Key points in the guidance include:
All GP surgeries and NHS bodies to develop a policy for dealing with bullying and harassment. This should include: opportunities for an individual to speak out; opportunities for informal resolution via discussion and mediation; an opportunity to receive an objective investigation into a complaint; and a formal stage to include possible disciplinary action;
Making sure that records of incidents said and/or threats made, the person who made them, the date and time of meeting and who else was present are kept;
Adequate advice and support should be made available to all GPs through Local Medical Committees (LMC) and GP representatives to provide advice, guidance and representation for those who believe that they are being bullied.
Dr Dearden added: "This guidance is designed to increase awareness of the effects of bullying and harassment and encourage all GPs and practices to develop policies to help stamp out bullying and harassment once and for all."