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Feeling vulnerable should never be considered ‘part of the job’

7 March 2024

Responding to the national NHS Staff Survey results published today (7 March 2024), reporting record levels of discrimination from the public, Dr Adrian Boyle, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said:

“Discrimination or abuse of any kind must not be tolerated – anywhere, ever. Everyone has a responsibility to call it out.

“Such behaviour is abhorrent and in a clinical setting, utterly disrespectful to our hardworking NHS staff and to patients receiving or waiting for medical attention. Staff are most effective when they feel psychologically safe in a workplace.

“NHS staff cannot walk away when someone needs help – being harassed or feeling vulnerable should never be considered ‘part of the job’.”

For the first time ever, NHS staff were asked if they had experienced sexual harassment while at work. The survey revealed 58,000 healthcare workers experienced “unacceptable” levels of unwanted sexual behaviour from the public last year.

The survey also found 3.84% of staff faced unwanted sexual behaviour from colleagues.

RCEM’s ‘RespectED‘ awareness campaign along with ‘Civility Saves Lives‘ was established to promote standards of behaviour in the workplace, free from all forms of bullying, harassment and undermining. It asks people to consider their own behaviours as well as urging them to act if they witness behaviours from others which fall below expected standards.

See the published NHS Staff Survey reports .

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