Bullying down but fatigue fears grow at Queensland public hospitals

By: AMA Queensland
Oct. 23, 2019 - PRLog -- Nearly half of Queensland's trainee doctors are worried about making a clinical mistake because they are exhausted from working excessive hours.

The disturbing figure is part of the latest AMA Queensland public hospital report card which compares employment conditions at hospitals across the state, based on a survey of 882 junior doctors.

Chair of the AMA Queensland Council of Doctors in Training Dr Hash Abdeen said the 2019 Resident Hospital Health Check showed that fatigue and bullying remain a problem everywhere.

"Some hospitals are notably worse than others but, on average, 12 per cent of junior doctors had been bullied or harassed (down from 38 per cent last year), 16 per cent had witnessed bullying (down from 43 per cent) and 22 per cent had seen and experienced it (down from 25 per cent)," Dr Abdeen said.

"It is very troubling that only a quarter of bullying incidents are being reported and 57 per cent of junior doctors fear negative consequences from speaking up," Dr Abdeen said. "Importantly, 22 per cent said they had felt unsafe at work."

The survey revealed a big discrepancy in satisfaction with the quality of junior doctor training.

Cairns rated the highest - 72 per cent said the training was very good or excellent - and Mackay Hospital the lowest on just eight per cent.

Dr Abdeen said the annual score card was designed to promote positive change in the hospital system.

"Doctors need to work in safe, healthy hospitals so they can provide the best possible patient care and thrive in their careers," he said.

"New doctors in particular are more likely to burnout, get depressed or suffer anxiety, so it's important to provide practical support and advice in those early years."

AMA Queensland has again called on the State Government to expand an award-winning wellbeing program that has been proven to support early career doctors.

"This report card shows the need for such a program now, no more delays," Dr Abdeen said.

"By investing $1.7 million, the successful Wellbeing at Work program could be made available to all doctors in their first five years of training, in addition to first-year interns.

"It's a sensible, effective way for government to support new doctors dealing with the demands of the health system, including the hospital bullying and fatigue. It also helps retain doctors, which can only be good for Queensland patients."

Find the full 2019 Resident Hospital Health Check results: https://qld.ama.com.au/sites/default/files/QLD/PDFs/PDFlinks/AMAQueensland_Resident-Hospital-Health-Check-2019.pdf

Chiara Lesèvre, AMA Queensland
Tags:Junior Doctor
Location:Queensland - Australia
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