Irish Medical Organisation

IMO launches The Respect Charter

A campaign led by the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) to proactively deal with the problem of bullying and undermining behaviour being experienced by young doctors reached a significant milestone today with the signing of a new ‘Respect Charter’ by the IMO, the Irish Postgraduate Training Forum and the HSE.  

Research shows that a third of trainee doctors say they have experienced some form of bullying or undermining behaviour in their training with over half of trainee doctors having witnessed someone else being bullied at work.    Trainees who were bullied were also more likely than those who were not to say they were leaving medical practice in Ireland.

Speaking at the launch Dr. John Duddy, President of the IMO said “we are delighted that the Postgraduate Training Forum and the HSE have committed to the principles of the Charter in working with us and other stakeholders to address what is a serious issue for the profession.” 

“Being subjected to unacceptable behaviour can lead to problems such as stress, anxiety and erosion of self-esteem.   We must ensure that our trainees work in a respectful and safe environment that allows them to achieve their full potential as doctors.”

“This Respect Charter clearly demonstrates that we all recognise there is a problem and working together we are determined to change the culture and improve the experience of our trainees.  There are inherent pressures and stresses in training to be a doctor but unacceptable behaviour need not be one of them.”  

Practical ways in which the three stakeholders to the Charter have committed to stamping out unacceptable behaviours include:-

  • Working with others, including statutory bodies, training bodies, and all relevant organisations to build and foster relationships of trust, confidence and cooperation through education, professionalism, leadership and mentoring.

  • Creating an environment that builds and consolidates professionalism, which includes - fostering respect and good behaviour; challenging bad behaviour; and cherishing resilience through appropriate codes of conduct, policies and procedures to address bullying and harassment.

  • Committing to participating in a working group of associated bodies to identify the type of bullying and harassment experienced by doctors, effective strategies to address poor behaviour and reduce barriers to reporting.

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