Help us get rid of workplace bullying



Workplace bullying is a significant problem in many workforces, and unfortunately the medical profession is not immune to this. All workers deserve to work in an environment free from bullying and every worker deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and have their experiences valued.

Over the last three years ASMOF has worked with NSW Health in challenging bullying and harassment and other forms of discrimination in the workplace.One of the outcomes was to agree on the Statement of Agreed Principles on a Respectful Culture in Medicine which commits several organisations, including ASMOF and NSW Health, to creating a respectful culture in the practice of medicine and fostering a profession that reflects the diversity of our community.

A purpose of the Statement was to send a strong signal that bullying, and discrimination will not be tolerated - in any form.

Unfortunately, the removal of Westmead Hospital’s ICU training accreditation and the placing of the RPA cardiothoracic surgery department accreditation on hold for the next year both in response to allegations of bullying shows that there is a long way to go in eradicating bullying and other unacceptable cultures across NSW Health.

Earlier last week the Sydney Morning Herald reported on our email to members regarding our position on Westmead Hospital.

Whilst ASMOF is disappointed that the removal of accreditation at these hospitals has occurred, it is a positive development towards confronting and hopefully eradicating this unacceptable culture within health.

It is important to recognise that the conduct referred to at Westmead has occurred across and within all sectors of the organisation. Of course, there are instances within the ICU that need to be investigated and addressed. However, the College of Intensive Care of Medicine report on Westmead Hospital strongly point to a culture of bullying from outside the ICU, perpetuated from the top of the organisation. This supports our firm recommendation for an external review of the entire Western Sydney Local Health District.

We are pleased to see in a recent email from the Acting Chief Executive, Graeme Loy, recognising that the challenges faced by the ICU have not occurred within a vacuum and that there is scope for improvement across the organisation. We strongly support these comments and commit to working closely with WSLHD to both re-secure the accreditation and to ensure that the culture of bullying and harassment is stamped out. To do this, however, WSLHD must turn their words into actions.

This can easily be achieved by supporting our recommendations for a fair, transparent and comprehensive independent review of the District, which includes administration and executive.

We will be updating members with further information around RPA as we know more.

ASMOF members can contact the union ( ) if you feel you have experienced bullying or harassment.