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Bullying among top surgeons sparks two national investigations

‘Horrifying and upsetting’ reports of bullying in prestigious heart units are being probed by national officials and professional leaders, HSJ can reveal.

Health Education England told HSJ it was “undertaking a national thematic review of training in cardiothoracic surgery”, while the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery separately revealed it was investigating concerns about “bullying, harassment and undermining behaviour” in the specialty following high-profile recent cases in Newcastle and Wales.

Society president consultant surgeon Simon Kendall, who is based at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, told HSJ he has been made aware of wider problems beyond those identified in the North East and Wales.

Mr Kendall revealed allegations reported to the society have included people being shouted at in public, problems resulting from a “legacy culture of sarcasm and public humiliation”, and more personal disputes between individuals.

The consultant surgeon told HSJ: “The job is hard enough for all of us, without picking on each other and making it worse."

He added: “It’s the extended team that is affected by these behaviours and it will have an impact on patient safety and patient care.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 1 April 2022


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