Female surgeons say they are being sexually harassed, assaulted and in some cases raped by colleagues, a major analysis of NHS staff has found.
Sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape have been referred to as surgery’s open secret.
There is an untold story of women being fondled inside their scrubs, of male surgeons wiping their brow on their breasts and men rubbing erections against female staff. Some have been offered career opportunities for sex.
Nearly two-thirds of women surgeons who responded to the researchers said they had been the target of sexual harassment and a third had been sexually assaulted by colleagues in the past five years.
Women say they fear reporting incidents will damage their careers and they lack confidence the NHS will take action.
Another theme that emerged in the data was a lack of faith in bodies such as NHS Trusts, the General Medical Council (which manages the UK’s register of doctors allowed to practice) and the Royal Colleges (which represent specialities in medicine) – to tackle the problem.