HRC welcomes leadership on discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment

HRC welcomes leadership on discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment

September 11, 2015

The Human Rights Commission has welcomed Royal Australasian College of Surgeons' leadership condemning discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment and calling for cultural change in New Zealand’s professional health workforce.

“It’s courageous, uncompromising leadership like this that will change our culture and our country. We cannot stand by and let abuse become part of our health profession and we welcome and congratulate the College of Surgeon’s strong stance,” said EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue.

“We challenge others in leadership roles to do the same, to challenge their own people and to create a culture where human rights and respect for others is at its core.”

This week College president David Watters called out perpetrators in a hard hitting email where he warned the profession would no longer remain silent about the abuse of power and authority by fellow surgeons. Mr Watters challenged medical professionals to end abuse and warned abusers that their behaviour would not be tolerated.

Recent surveys revealed half of all surgical fellows, trainees and international graduates had suffered discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment. The New Zealand Medical Students' Association wants an investigation into allegations students are being bullied by, and encounter racism from, senior doctors when training with District Health Boards (DHBs).

“The sector needs to put in place regular reporting systems to monitor their culture as well as policies to ensure it changes,” said Dr Blue.

“We thank those students who have endured bullying and abuse in our hospital system and had the courage to speak out.”

Human Rights Commission

The Commission works for a free, fair, safe and just New Zealand, where diversity is valued and human dignity and rights are respected.

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