Earlier this year, an Expert Advisory Group
(EAG) commissioned by the Royal Australasian
College of Surgeons (RACS) released the results of
its research into cultural issues in surgical practice, revealing
widespread "discrimination, bullying and sexual
harassment" (DBSH) as significant and
persistent problems in medical work environments.
Notably, the EAG's background briefing indicated that past
attempts to change workplace culture have focused on victims and
perpetrators, but overlooked the influence and significance of the
behaviour of observers or bystanders who contribute to maintaining
a culture that accepts inappropriate behaviour. Indeed, there is
now a commonly acknowledged leadership principle that "the
culture of any organisation is shaped by the worst behaviour the
leaders are prepared to tolerate" (undated quote,
Gruenter & Whitaker).
Following the release of the EAG's final report in
September, the RACS released its Action Plan last month,
foreshadowing a number of changes and initiatives that will seek to
achieve cultural and transformational change in the practice of
What is the RACS Action Plan?
The RACS has committed to focusing on "cultural
leadership, surgical education and complaints management"
in its Action Plan, which sets out the details of what will be a
comprehensive and systematic approach to reducing the prevalence of
DBSH across the industry.
Perhaps one of the most significant elements of the Action Plan
is that surgeons will be required to undertake compulsory training
as part of a Continuing Professional Development
(CPD) program. The training will focus on:
Promoting awareness and understanding about what constitutes
Teaching skills of resilience in maintaining professional
Encouraging those who see bad behaviour to "call it
out", not simply walk past it
Promoting organisational change to nurture respect and good
Some of the other elements of the Action Plan are briefly
summarised in the table below.
How can we help?
DibbsBarker has a team of experts who have extensive experience
partnering with organisations in a number of industries to achieve
not only baseline compliance, but also transformational cultural
change. Our experts look beyond what might be technically required
by any given CPD program, tailoring solutions to meet particular
needs which might include:
Reviewing Codes of Conduct, Anti-DBSH policies and complaints
Training programs for all employees to:
Outline legal requirements (Anti-DBSH policies, complaints
resolution procedures and consequences of breach)
Clarify the boundaries of 'reasonable management
action' and bystander expectations
Running leadership sessions focused on cultural change and
leadership skill development including:
Courageous conversations and providing effective feedback
Developing healthy and engaged workplace teams.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Cannabis, as a narcotic, is currently regulated under a myriad of Commonwealth and State laws.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).