Shocking Report Reveals Rampant Sexual Assault and Harassment of Female Surgeons Within the NHS.

Alarming Findings Spark Urgent Calls for Reform and Accountability

A deeply disturbing report has unveiled a distressing pattern of sexual harassment, assault, and even rape experienced by female surgeons at the hands of their colleagues within the National Health Service (NHS). The report, which draws from anonymous responses provided by 1,434 registered surgeons, both men and women, exposes a harrowing reality—nearly two-thirds of women surgeons have endured sexual harassment, with a third falling victim to sexual assault perpetrated by their colleagues in the past five years.

BBC News conducted interviews with brave women who recounted their experiences of sexual assault while in the operating theatre. One surgeon, who chose to be identified as Judith, revealed the humiliation she suffered when a senior male surgeon buried his head into her breasts and used her as a human towel. Another surgeon, who goes by the pseudonym Anne, shared her traumatic experience of being raped by a consultant at a social event linked to a medical conference.

The report’s authors, hailing from the University of Exeter, the University of Surrey, and the Working Party on Sexual Misconduct in Surgery, exposed a concerning trend where female trainees are subjected to abuse by senior male surgeons. They highlighted that this deeply troubling issue persists within NHS hospitals, and many women refrain from reporting incidents, fearing damage to their careers and lacking confidence in the NHS’s response.

The Royal College of Surgeons responded to these revelations, describing the findings as “truly shocking” and “profoundly disturbing.” They expressed their unwavering commitment to combat this issue, aiming to foster a culture of respect and dignity within the surgical profession. Furthermore, they urged anyone who has encountered or witnessed sexual misconduct to report it to the relevant authorities.

Published in the British Journal of Surgery, this report marks the first comprehensive analysis of sexual harassment and assault within the UK’s surgical field. This follows similar studies in Australia and the US, all revealing alarming levels of sexual misconduct in the surgical profession.

The authors of the report have called for immediate action to address this crisis, proposing a multifaceted approach. Their recommendations include enhanced training and education, the establishment of clear policies and procedures, stronger support systems for victims and whistleblowers, and increased accountability and sanctions for perpetrators. Additionally, they have emphasized the importance of conducting further research to understand the underlying causes and consequences of sexual misconduct in surgery and to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions.

This report serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for a thorough transformation within the NHS to ensure the safety, dignity, and respect of all healthcare professionals, irrespective of their gender.








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