Thursday 25 April 2019

Collegiality is defined as cooperative interaction among colleagues. Whether locally, nationally or internationally, working together to deliver safer outcomes surely needs to be embraced. Divide and rule should have no place in our local departments or the wider NHS but is unfortunately seen all too often within ‘dysfunctional’ departments, services and hospitals.

Undermining and bullying have significant negative effects, not only on the individual, but also on those who witness the behaviour. While it should not be a feature of our teams, sadly, radiologists are both bullies and bullied.

Civility, teamworking and communication save lives. These human factors interventions were clearly articulated at the recent meeting on tackling undermining and bullying in the NHS. An informal anti-bullying alliance has been formed to share ideas and enact interventions across the entirety of the NHS.

This message is vitally important, not only in the NHS where ever growing workload increases the stress on individuals and teams, but in all our interactions. Writing this at a time when the 'Brexit' debates continue, and the country, communities and families have diametrically opposite opinions, brings home not only the difficulty, but prime importance of delivering a cooperative, collaborative, indeed collegiate, culture. Resilience is a word much used and disliked by many and reminiscent of the British ‘stiff upper lip’. However, a supportive, cooperative, collaborative culture  ‘teamworking’  is much more likely to deliver a ‘resilient’ service, better able to deliver despite adverse conditions, with safer outcomes for patients and staff. Working together with respect, supporting those being bullied or witnessing bullying or challenging the undermining culture is to be encouraged. Everyone can contribute and make a difference. It is down to individuals – national meetings, policies, mandatory training will not deliver change – individuals will. Help make a culture of collegiality and civility wherever you are.

Dr Caroline Rubin
Vice-President, Clinical Radiology

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