A retired NHS anesthetist has sparked outrage after suggesting female surgeons who have experienced sexual harassment should “toughen up”.

Dr. Pembrokeshire’s Peter Hilton accused young doctors of being part of a “snowflake generation” and urged them to “toughen up”.

In a letter to the Times, Dr. Hilton said there is “bullying” in the medical field and that “sexually inappropriate comments and actions occur.”

Leading members of the Royal College of Anaesthetists said they were “disgusted” by his comments, adding: “Attitudes like those of Dr. Hilton do not represent the views of our members, but may illustrate why sexual misconduct in healthcare is unfortunately so widespread.”

“It is important that we do everything we can to eliminate these attitudes and behaviors.”

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His comments came after a survey found almost one in three female surgeons had been sexually abused in the last five years.

The survey, conducted by the British Journal of Surgery, also found that 29 percent of women who responded had experienced unwanted physical advances at work, and eleven cases of rape were reported by surgeons involved in the study.

More than 1,400 female surgeons responded to the anonymous online survey commissioned by the Working Party on Sexual Misconduct in Surgery (WPSMS) – a group of NHS surgeons, clinicians and researchers who say they are “working to raise sexual awareness “To raise awareness of misconduct in surgery”. “bring about cultural and organizational change”.

A group of 55 consultants from Swansea Bay Health Board, including some who worked with Dr. Hilton signed a letter calling his views “repugnant.”

“Our young doctors are not snowflakes, but vibrant, interested, accomplished and committed to their careers. The expectation that they will be treated with respect by their colleagues is the bare minimum and we strongly support this demand.

“Dr. Hilton’s rejection of bullying, sexism and sexual harassment as mere inconveniences in the workplace is antithetical to the profession of the 21st century.”

Dr. Hilton stood by his comments in an interview with the newspaper, saying, “If these girls want to be surgeons, they’re going to have to deal with a lot more difficult things than another surgeon saying something inappropriate.”

However, he denied that he “condoned sexual harassment” and added that any allegations of criminal behavior should be investigated.

Dr. Binta Sultan, chair of NHS England’s national clinical network for sexual assault and abuse services, said the WPSMS report showed “clear evidence” that action was needed to make hospitals a safer environment.

She told the BBC: “We are already taking important steps to achieve this, including by pledging to provide more support and clear reporting mechanisms for those who have suffered harassment or inappropriate behavior.”

Source : www.standard.co.uk

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