Survey: Bullying “commonly experienced” by UK cardiology trainees

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One in 10 junior doctors training to be cardiologists in the UK say they have been bullied, the results of a survey published online in the journal Heart indicate. Women and those who qualified in medicine outside the UK are most likely to report being subjected to this behaviour, the responses indicate.

Researchers drew on responses to the annual surveys of UK cardiology trainees run by the British Junior Cardiologists’ Association (BJCA) between 2017 and 2020. Since 2017, respondents have been asked about direct and indirect experiences of bullying and inappropriate language/behaviour in cardiology departments in the preceding four weeks.

In total, 2,057 responses were received and 1,358 specialist trainees completed the survey in full.  Nearly three out of four respondents were men (73%) and the average age was 33. Most (76%) had qualified at a UK medical school and were working full time (96%).

Over half (59%) were working in a tertiary referral centre and most (94%) had a national training number, which guarantees a continued place on a training programme, subject to performance. The responses showed that around one in 10 (152; 11%) said they had been bullied. This prevalence was broadly similar across all four survey years.

Additionally, a third (431; 32%) said they had witnessed bullying while on a cardiology rotation, with those at an advanced stage of their training more than twice as likely to witness bullying. Women were 55% more likely than men to report being bullied, while doctors who had qualified outside the UK were even more likely to report this.

Those who had qualified at a European medical school were twice as likely to say they had been bullied as those who had graduated from a medical school in the UK. And those who had graduated from a medical school outside Europe were three times more likely to do so.


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