The 2023 Medical Training Survey (MTS) has revealed that 54% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trainee doctors have experienced and/or witnessed bullying, discrimination and harassment, including racism, compared to 35% of all trainees nationally.
While there has been a slight decrease from 55% in 2022, the persistently high figure indicates a concerning trend across the five years of MTS data.
The most common type of behaviour experienced or witnessed is bullying, with 12% of trainees experiencing it, and 18% witnessing others being victimised.
Of those who experienced or witnessed bullying, harassment, discrimination and/or racism, the most common source is from senior medical staff such as consultants and specialists.
It is entirely unacceptable that 54% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trainees are still feeling unsafe in the workplace, and the MTS statistics show that there is a critical and urgent need for action in health care settings.
Since its inception over 25 years ago, AIDA has worked to provide a culturally safe and affirming space for our students and doctors to come together and be strengthened through the support of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peers.
Also alarming is the fact that only one in three doctors in training who have experienced bullying, harassment, discrimination and/or racism are reporting it.
Of those who did not report it, 54% were concerned about repercussions, and 47% believed that nothing would be done about the reported incident.
This suggests a systemic issue where trainees do not believe that there are safety measures in place to support victims to come forward.
AIDA is proud to be a national leader in providing Cultural Safety Training workshops as an effective strategy to create more culturally safe individuals and workplaces. If you would like to learn more about cultural safety and the ways in which you can help to improve the landscape of medicine for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical professionals, go to: https://aida.org.au/cultural-safety-program/
The 2023 Medical Training Survey (MTS) is an annual national profession-wide survey of medical training, funded by the Medical Board of Australia. Find out more about the 2023 MTS.