A retired anaesthetist, Dr. Peter Hilton, has faced criticism for his comments about sexual harassment in the workplace. Dr. Hilton, in a letter to The Times, referred to a “snowflake generation” of young doctors who he believed needed to toughen up. This comes as a new study revealed that female NHS surgeons have experienced sexual harassment, assault, and even rape. The study, titled “Breaking the Silence,” was conducted by the University of Exeter, the University of Surrey, and the Working Party on Sexual Misconduct in Surgery. The Royal College of Anaesthetists expressed deep concern over the findings.
In response to Dr. Hilton’s letter, leading members of the Royal College of Anaesthetists expressed their disgust at his suggestion that such behavior should be accepted. They emphasized that sexual misconduct should never be tolerated in any workplace. They stated that these attitudes, demonstrated by Dr. Hilton, contribute to the widespread problem of sexual misconduct in healthcare and emphasized the urgent need to eradicate such attitudes and behaviors.
Several medical professionals also voiced their criticism of Dr. Hilton’s stance. A group of 55 consultants from Swansea Bay health board, some of whom worked with Dr. Hilton, signed a letter condemning his views as “repulsive.” They highlighted that medical students are selected based on a range of measures and not solely on academic achievements, emphasizing that misogyny and sexual harassment are not acceptable in the medical profession.
Dr. Hilton, who retired in 2018, has since given up his registration. Swansea Bay University Health Board confirmed that Dr. Hilton no longer works for the organization and stated that his views are inconsistent with their values. They affirmed their commitment to creating a safe and respectful work environment and encouraged staff members to report any bullying or harassment they experience.
Overall, the response to Dr. Hilton’s comments highlights the importance of addressing sexual harassment and misconduct in the medical profession and creating a workplace culture that is inclusive and respectful.