Attitudes of hospital medical practitioners to the mandatory reporting of professional misconduct

Sumit Raniga, Phil Hider, David Spriggs, Mike Ardagh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: New legislation now requires doctors to report unfit colleagues to the Medical Council of New Zealand. However, little research has examined the attitudes and willingness of doctors to report errant colleagues. Aim: To examine the attitudes of a range of hospital-based medical practitioners towards the mandatory reporting of colleagues. Methods: House staff, registrars, and consultants at two major tertiary teaching hospitals in New Zealand were surveyed using a written questionnaire. Doctors were asked to state level of agreement with a series of statements and to make responses to three hypothetical scenarios: an alcohol impaired practitioner; a senior colleague with recent behavioural change; and a surgeon expressing racist views. Results: Responses were received from 52% of medical staff at the two hospitals. Respondents were consultants (52%), registrars (39%), and house staff (9%). Most (98%) respondents agreed that all doctors make clinical errors and there was a need for open discussion about error. The majority (80%) also accepted that doctors were responsible for the actions of colleagues and agreed that they would act if a colleague was failing to achieve professional standards. Only 45% agreed with the mandatory reporting of error. The responses to three scenarios illustrate some variability in how different groups of doctors would address the behaviour of an errant colleague. Conclusions: Although most hospital doctors accept they should act if a colleague is falling below professional standards, there is only limited support for mandatory reporting; instead, doctors may prefer to consult senior colleagues about an errant colleague or sometimes counsel the practitioner themselves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-106
Number of pages16
JournalNew Zealand Medical Journal (Online)
Issue number1227
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


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