12 September 2015
PRESS RELEASE – New Zealand Medical Students’ Association
For Immediate Release
Medical students are encouraged by Surgeon’s apology on bullying, but calls for more action to combat issue
New Zealand Medical Students’ Association (NZMSA) President Elizabeth Berryman says she is encouraged by the release of
the Royal Australasian College of Surgeon’s draft report on bullying and sexual harassment.
‘The report confirms what everyone has known for a long time – that bullying and sexual harassment is widespread in our
hospitals” says President Elizabeth Berryman.
The report shows 49% of Fellows, trainees and international medical graduates report being subjected to discrimination,
bullying or sexual harassment. ‘We are not surprised by these results and they are in agreement with our final survey
data of 4th, 5th and 6 year clinical students which show that 54% of medical students have faced bullying or sexual
harassment’ she says.
NZMSA welcomes the release of the report and calls on other Specialist Colleges to conduct their own investigations and
issue apologies if appropriate and develop policy and procedures to eradicate bullying and harassment. NZMSA also
believes that medical students are in a particularly vulnerable position at the bottom of the medical hierarchy.
‘As students we are at the bottom of the medical hierarchy and make particularly easy targets for bullying and sexual
harassment, with no way to fight back or safely lay complaints’. The survey results show only 13% of students have
actually reported the bullying to anyone.
‘NZMSA calls on DHBs and Specialist Colleges to acknowledge the vulnerability of students by implementing anonymous or
safe reporting measures so students feel they can come speak out when bullied. Right now, medical students put their
future career prospects on the line by speaking out’ says Elizabeth Berryman.