UCT commends 'brave' junior doctor for exposing bullying‚ sexual harassment

02 August 2016 - 09:49 By Katharine Child

The University of Cape Town says it is "incensed" by the bullying of a former graduate and student doctor Yumna Moosa‚ who was threatened by senior doctors for trying to complain about alleged sexual harassment. Moosa‚ sister of doctor-turned-comedian Riaad Moosa‚ on Friday posted a You Tube video with a recording of her grievance hearing titled "Secret recordings EXPOSE bullying of junior doctors".In it she is told by two senior KwaZulu-Natal doctors she will "never get another job" if she continues with her complaint about alleged sexual harassment she experienced at work.Her video had racked up more than 37 000 views by Monday night.One of the two senior doctors‚ who had studied mediation‚ is recorded saying: "What I am trying to get across to you is you are one out of 360 [staff] and if 359 have agreed with it. You are stok siel allen. [totally alone]. If you want to be the loner‚ people won't want you in their department."He then says: "act like a doctor and you will be treated as one".Interim Dean of Health Faculty at UCT Professor Gregory Hussey said of Moosa on Monday afternoon‚ "We applaud her bravery in taking a stand to raise awareness of the ill-treatment of junior doctors". "Racism and sexism have been embedded in the health services environment for too long. This is abhorrent and unacceptable‚" Hussey said.The university also called on doctors who had experienced abuse to come forward and report it so that the practices could be eradicated.Critics have called the video one-sided as it does not detail what Moosa's complaint was and if it had any merit‚ but even they concede she was bullied in her hearing.The two senior doctors‚ heard on the secret recording‚ are facing professional conduct inquiries following a complaint by Moosa to the Health Department and the Health Professions Council of SA. One junior doctor anonymously told The TMG online: "As a student I was bullied by doctors‚ as many other students were too. We often tried to address it but we were treated as weaklings for being upset."Another said: "I think what happened to Dr Moosa is very tragic and was [subjected] to those severe levels of bullying simply because she stuck to her principles and did not give up.I have certainly heard doctors say racist and especially sexist things that are not PC towards junior staff and sometimes patients. "One specific instance [of sexism] that I recall is being told by a clinical manager that he would not appoint a female doctor in a post if he could see that she was pregnant‚ even if there were no other applicants. This is because pregnant women 'disrupt things and steal from government' when they go on maternity leave‚" the doctor said.UCT said bullying of junior doctors was bad for the health system. "In a country where there is a critical shortage of doctors‚ where our juniors are the future of the health system‚ we can ill-afford to lose young‚ newly trained doctors‚" Hussey said."We must build a health system based on equity and justice where everyone is treated with dignity and respect."Recently The Safe Working Hours campaign made headlines locally. It represents junior doctors in South Africa who are demanding the law allowing 30 hour continuous shifts to be changed.Moosa said bullying of junior doctors was part of the institutional culture of medicine which had a military-style hierarchy. Moosa was prevented from graduating last year by a head of department of her hospital in KwaZulu Natal who said that she had mismanaged patients. Moosa claims this was to teach her and other doctors a lesson about standing up against bullying.Numerous doctors have told The Times that Moosa was known as a very good doctor when she was working as an intern for 20 months at Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg.The Health Professions Council reversed the decision and allowed to her to qualify. But she is now studying toward her PHD in bioinformatics and has left medicine. TMG Digital/The Times..

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