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Bullying in UK cardiology: a systemic problem requiring systemic solutions
  1. Resham Baruah1,
  2. Emma Sedgwick2
  1. 1 Cardiology, Chelsea and Westminster Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK
  2. 2 Independent Professional Coach, Sedgwick Coaching, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Resham Baruah, Cardiology, Chelsea and Westminster Healthcare NHS Trust, London SW10 9NH, UK; resham.baruah1{at}

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In the 1954 comedy, ‘Doctor in the house’, the fictional character Sir Lancelot Spratt descends from his chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce to embark on a ward round, where he ritually humiliates his young doctor colleagues. Fast forward nearly seven decades and the real-world picture painted by Camm et al 1 suggests that, while consultants’ lifestyles have changed significantly, their behaviour towards their ‘junior’ colleagues has not. This sobering insight into current practice suggests, despite better protection in legislation against discrimination, a bullying culture is endemic in many UK cardiology departments.

Size of the problem

The consequences of workplace bullying can be catastrophic for the individual and system, with increased levels of sickness, an impact on learning, reduced retention, reduced patient safety2 3 and even increased suicide risk.4 Trainees who have been the victim of bullying are 10% more likely to drop out of training.5

The causes from a systems perspective

Bullying behaviours towards those further down the hierarchy could represent maladaptive responses to increasing pressure, burn out, loss of status and financial reward experienced by consultants.6 Further, its ubiquitous nature and the fact that consultants role model such behaviour, generation …

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  • Contributors Both authors contributed equally to the writing of the editorial.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests Emma Sedgwick works as a professional coach.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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