Doctors, colleges, human rights advocates and the ACT government have condemned bullying and sexual harassment in hospitals and called for the "boys club" to be disbanded.
In a submission to a Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, Calvary Hospital chief executive Karen Edwards said many staff who witnessed the misconduct remained silent due to fears of legal or professional risk.
"History will show that those who speak out are immediately labelled as whistleblowers and rarely survive the investigative processes and outcomes even if proven right," she said.
"The penalties applied are often non-existent or make a mockery of the process. This leads to a culture of under-reporting."
A draft report released by the college on Thursday found 49 percent of trainees, medical graduates and fellows had been subject to discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment.
Nearly three quarters of Australian hospitals have reported the misconduct within the past five years, with bullying the most frequently reported issue.
Women reported much higher rates of victimisation than men. One in three of the 560 women surveyed reported they'd been sexually harassed.
Sexual propositions and innuendo were the most common forms of sexual harassment
ACT Australian Medical Association president Dr Elizabeth Gallagher said Canberra was not immune instances of bullying and harassment and the misconduct was not limited to surgery.
"We know that these behaviours are apparent in ACT hospitals," she said. "I don't think the ACT is outstandingly different to other hospitals and this is recognition that we are not immune to the problem."
In a submission, the ACT Human Rights and Discrimination Commissioner Dr Helen Watchirs said the behaviour of surgeons was disproportionate to other areas of the medical profession.
"The ACT Health Services Commissioner and the Human Rights Discrimination Commissioner agree that discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment persist despite the existing legal, policy and standards," the submission said.
The draft report prompted an official apology from RACS president professor David Watters who described the findings as "shocking".
"We looked for geographical differences across different regions in Australian and New Zealand and we couldn't find them," vice president Graeme Campbell said.
"Two thirds of our trainees reported these behaviours and I think some of it is entrenched in the medical education system general, and not just in surgery," he said.
Mr Campbell said there needed to be a wholesale culture change in the profession and trainees and junior doctors needed to feel safe and secure at work.
In her submission, Ms Edwards said it was "clearly apparent" surgeons lacked adequate leadership to cease the misconduct.
"[There is a] lack of effective selection proves to weed out the boys club mentality, this fails to give those who do not behave wrongly the recognition they deserve," she said.
"Boys club mentality comes from not having a sound or reflective understanding of the impact of historical male behaviours on the female workforce."
The college found women trainees and junior surgeons reported feeling obliged to give their supervisors sexual favours to keep their jobs.
One woman reported that she had to "provide sexual favours in [her supervisor's] consulting rooms in return for tutorship".
ACT Health Minister Simon Corbell welcomed the report and said he shared the college's concerns about the "toxic culture evident in Australia's surgery departments".
"This national report will be considered as the ACT Government develops a plan to make our health system one in which its employees can thrive and succeed without fear of being affected by unacceptable behaviour from their supervisors and peers," he said. .
In June, ACT Health Director-General Nicole Feely put Canberra Hospital employees on notice, warning zero tolerance for allegations of bullying including inside the maternity unit's training programs.
An independent review led by consultancy firm KPMG was commissioned with a report now overdue.
Last month a report published by the Medical Journal of Australian found three quarters of medical students were taught by humiliation in Australian hospitals with almost all witnessing mistreatment.
Australian National University Medical Students' Society president Chris Wilder said the humiliation was commonly discussed by students and was a cause for concern.