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Statement on bullying, harassment and discrimination

01 April 2021

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) is committed to providing a respectful workplace, and a training environment, that is free of bullying, harassment and discrimination. Any form of bullying, harassment or discrimination is unacceptable, and is a risk to mental and physical health, and safety.

We have seen in recent weeks an increasing public wave of discontent about the treatment of women in politics. Sexual harassment has no place in any workplace.

RANZCOG acknowledges that many of our members and trainees have experienced gender bias, discrimination, bullying and harassment in the workplace, and elsewhere. RANZCOG regrets that this has occurred and is sorry for the adverse impact it has had on many lives.

The College recognises that there are systemic issues within the College, in our workplaces and in our broader society and these must be addressed.

Recently, the College released a revised Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination Policy (BDH) and Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination Resource Guide which clearly outlines the College’s processes and expectations.

If an individual has concerns in relation to making an application under these processes, they are encouraged to contact the Office of the Chief Executive Officer and/or refer to the College’s Bullying, Harassment & Discrimination Policy and Complaints Policy.

The RANZCOG Board recently approved the development of a Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment Survey that will be distributed to all members and trainees. A similar survey was conducted in 2016 and it is timely for us to gather this important data again.

The College will also form a BDH Advisory Working Group, which will include independent members.

Both initiatives will inform the College’s work in preventing bullying, discrimination, and harassment in the O&G specialty.

Bullying, harassment and discrimination can significantly impact the health and wellbeing of trainees, patient safety, constructive learning, and workplaces in general, and RANZCOG is committed to confronting this issue. Training site accreditation visits will continue to focus on ensuring that hospitals, and other environments where trainees work, are safe and have a supportive workplace culture. The College will continue to evaluate and strengthen current RANZCOG education training programs. The Respectful Workplaces Program has been reviewed to ensure the content is current and that feedback from previous courses has been considered. A project group to further develop the program will be established with a plan to roll out an online program later this year.

Every member has a responsibility to contribute to a safe working environment.

The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) has developed a module ‘Operating with Respect’ which they have generously made available to RANZCOG members. The module can be accessed here. We urge you to complete RACS module, which is also relevant to RANZCOG members. We can learn so much from this process.

All forms of bullying, harassment and discrimination constitute a breach of the RANZCOG Code of Conduct and are not consistent with the RANZCOG Organisational Values of advocacy, education, excellence, integrity, kindness, and respect.

Promoting a culture that values diversity and inclusion is not just about protecting individuals from harm. It’s also an opportunity for society, our members and our College to work and live in a harmonious environment where each individual can feel safe and achieve their potential. This is a benefit to our members and the people we care for.

Achieving our goals of inclusion, respectful communication and safety in the workplace for all of our members, requires vigilance and persistence, and we reiterate emphatically our commitment to help build a more diverse, equitable and inclusive culture in O&G and medicine more broadly.

Support available

RANZCOG’s Member Support Program, Converge, provides confidential support to RANZCOG trainees, SIMGs and Fellows (and their immediate family members) across Australia and New Zealand.

All sessions are entirely confidential, and the College pays for the first four sessions within any 12-month period. Sessions may be face-to-face, by video conference or by phone. Book a counselling session by calling 1300 687 327 (Australia), 0800 666 367 (New Zealand), or visit the Converge website.

For further support, please visit RANZCOG’s Member Support and Wellbeing hub.

RANZCOG Board

Dr Vijay Roach
President

Ms Vase Jovanoska
Chief Executive Officer

 



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