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Is Sexual Misconduct Training Sufficient in the UK’s Medical Schools?: Results of a Cross-Sectional Survey and Opportunities for Improvement

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Dowling, Tia 


Objective: Sexual misconduct adversely affects the mental and physical health of millions of people each year and has been declared a global pandemic. Incidence in both educational and clinical settings remains high. In the last 5 years, the NHS spent over £4 million settling sexual misconduct-related claims. Effective prevention requires training across all stages of career, beginning in clinical school. Here, we explore training in the UK’s medical schools to identify provision and areas for improvement. Design: Freedom of Information Act 2000 requests for data on training delivery and curricula content. Setting: 34 public UK universities offering medical education Participants: not applicable Main Outcome Measure: provision and delivery of training, and mode of delivery, theme, and continuation of training. Results: All 34 universities responded. Twenty-two identified offering training. Seventeen made it compulsory. A review of curricula identified, however, only 18 did more just than mentioned sexual misconduct. Nine offered training more than once. Twelve did not offer training, of which three identified no plans to offer such training in the future. The most common delivery modes for training were workshops and lectures. The training was most often within the sexual health curriculum, disconnecting it from professionalism. Conclusions: There is no standardisation of sexual harassment training across the UK’s public medical schools. Many future doctors will not have received relevant education when they assume posts in the NHS. Considering the magnitude of this issue and its critical connection to professionalism and collegiality, universities and professional bodies urgently should address this deficiency.



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SAGE Publishing
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