19 Sep 2023

ABS Response to the Working Party on Sexual Misconduct in Surgery Report

ABS Response to the Working Party on Sexual Misconduct in Surgery Report

Dear Members

Many of you would have read the recent distressing stories in the media regarding the unacceptable and appalling behaviour highlighted in the WPSMS (Working Party on Sexual Misconduct in Surgery) report, published in the British Journal of Surgery  

The report focuses on surgeons and surgical trainees, but we must recognise that this is a cross-healthcare problem and nurses, and allied health care professionals also experience this issue.

We are an association with over 2000 members with an equal split between medical and nursing colleagues and I want to reassure each and every one of you that this behaviour will not be condoned or accepted in our association. I would like to believe that we are a caring and patient focussed bunch, and this does not happen in our midst, but I would please implore you to speak up if any of you witness or experience any such behaviour. We all want to work in an atmosphere of mutual respect, whatever our background or personal characteristics. It is our professional responsibility to highlight unacceptable behaviour.

One might believe this only happens in other branches of surgery and it doesn’t affect us, but if we do not help stamp it out, we will lose good people from surgical specialties as trainees, even before they come into our world of Breast Surgery.

Let us work together with other organisations, to make the work place a better, safer space for all.

Kind regards

Leena Chagla