About Respect: What we are doing


Find a surgeon

The Find a Surgeon directory is a listing of active Fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons who meet the requirements of the College's Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Program and have opted to be on the list. This list excludes retired or inactive Fellows.


We are committed to building respect in surgery in Australia and New Zealand, and dealing with bullying, discrimination, harassment and sexual harassment.Logo

Our Action Plan: Building Respect, Improving Patient Safety outlines the work we are doing on culture and leadership in surgery; improving surgical education and strengthening complaints management.

What to watch for in 2017

Our work to build a culture of respect is continuing in 2017. This year's priorities include:

  • supporting all Fellows, Trainees and IMGs to complete the e-learning module. This is mandatory and a CPD 2017 requirement
  • supporting surgical educators to do the Foundation Skills for Surgical Educators (FSSE) course. Mandatory if you teach or train SET trainees or supervise IMGs
  • launching face to face training to strengthen the skills of surgical educators to identify and deal effectively with DBSH
  • providing a leadership development program, through the surgical leaders forum
  • implementing the RACS Diversity and Inclusion Plan
  • establishing accreditation arrangements with suppliers and partners to support the delivery of surgical education and
  • creating other pathways to support individuals and help them take a lead in cultural change.

Leaders' message

During 2016, the connection between DBSH and patient safety became clearer and less contentious. I suspect we have all known this intuitively for a long time, but the evidence to confirm this is growing. Our commitment to change has been galvanised by this fact and because our SET Trainees and IMGs must learn in a safe environment.

The problems of DBSH extend well beyond surgery and affect the whole health sector. During 2016, many other agencies committed to dealing with it. RACS has been engaging with a broad range of organisations including hospitals, universities, health departments and other health jurisdictions so we can work together, with a common goal, to create effective change. Other specialist medical colleges are now approaching us to enquire about our resources and partnering with us.

Our campaign - Let's Operate With Respect - has given real focus to our work. Many surgeons have been generous in allowing us to use their faces on our campaign posters. They and their colleagues have taken a strong stand in their own spheres of influence, and have facilitated many of our agreements with hospital networks.

It is now up to each of us as surgeons to play our part. We need to lead the way wherever we work, to advocate for change, to stand up to unacceptable behavior and show what it looks like to operate with respect. There are things we can all do in our hospitals to build a culture of respect.

How we behave and what we consider acceptable, shapes our culture and our profession. Let's operate with respect.

Mr Philip Truskett AM, President
Professor Spencer Beasley, Vice President

Tackling discrimination and more

Being a surgeon takes more than technical excellence. How we behave shapes our culture and profession.

We are serious about putting an end to bullying, discrimination, harassment and sexual harassment in surgery. What we are doing is outlined in our Action Plan. This work is focused on three main areas: culture and leadership, improving surgical education and strengthening complaints management.

More than 20 projects are now underway, many of which will take more than three years to deliver.

Read more about the highlights of our achievements in 2016

We will soon be publishing a report of our work in 2016 to keep you up to date with the work we are doing to implement the Action Plan.

Updated policies and procedures

We have updated many of our policies and procedures to make sure they reflect RACS commitment to building respect, and improving patient safety.

Some of the most important policies and procedures we have developed or updated include:


We have done a lot of work to improve surgical education. We have developed learning opportunities for surgeons to find out more about bullying, discrimination and harassment in the workplace and learn what they can do about it.

  • elearning module on DBSH. Mandatory for all College Fellows, Trainees and IMGs. Integrated with RACS' continuing professional development program. CPD 2017 requirement.
  • Expanded the Foundation Skills for Surgical Educators course, to strengthen surgical education. Mandatory for surgeons who teach or train SET trainees or supervise IMGs.
  • Face to face training to help surgeons deal with discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment coming in mid 2017.