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Claims Of Bullying And Harassment Within Mackay Health Service

Doctors perform surgery together.

More than one-third of junior doctors at Mackay Hospital have been bullied or harassed, according to the Australian Medical Association (AMA) Queensland’s annual junior doctor public hospital report card.

The 2018 Resident Hospital Health Check (RHHC), based on a survey of 615 junior doctors around the state, revealed 35 per cent of junior doctors at Mackay Hospital had personally experienced bullying, discrimination or harassment compared with nine per cent in 2017.

The survey also found 47 per cent of junior doctors had witnessed a colleague being bullied or harassed in 2018, compared with 11 per cent last year.

AMA Queensland Council of Doctors in Training Executive Committee member Dr Bav Manoharan said the 2018 RHHC revealed several concerning statewide trends.

“For instance, 47 per cent of junior doctors at Mackay Hospital reported feeling concerned about making a clinical error due to fatigue caused by hours worked,” Dr Manoharan said.

“Even more concerningly, more than one third (35 per cent) felt their safety had been compromised at work.”

The 2018 RHHC also revealed 29 per cent of Mackay Hospital junior doctors were concerned that claiming overtime could negatively affect their assessment.

Only 56 per cent were satisfied their preferences for annual leave were considered.

Dr Manoharan said the annual RHHC survey was designed to help junior doctors decide where to work and promote positive change in the hospital system.

“While Mackay Hospital was given a C- in the RHHC survey, there were some significant improvements this year, such as a big drop in those who had worked more than 90 hours overtime,” he said.

Dr Manoharan called on the Hospital and Health Service Boards to examine the results of the survey at their upcoming Board meeting.

“We understand the strain that the current junior doctor shortages across public hospitals in Queensland is having on staff morale and on workloads for our doctors. We also recognise the challenges that hospitals have in maintaining appropriate provision of clinical services, whilst ensuring that vital junior doctor entitlements and training opportunities are protected,” he said.

“AMA Queensland will work closely with hospitals to address the areas of concern and improve workplace culture and wellbeing of junior doctors,” he said.

“Best practice policies for workplace wellbeing, such as the 13 recommendations within the Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation Guidelines, should also be urgently implemented and embraced across all Queensland hospitals.

“These workplace guidelines aim to create work environments based on trust, honesty and fairness and help to manage workload, balance work and private lives, protect physical and psychological safety ,” said Dr Manoharan.

AMA Queensland called on the Director General of Queensland Health to establish a dedicated and resourced program to allow these guidelines to be implemented statewide.


Access to annual leave E+ C

Career progression and development C B-

Hours of work and overtime C C+

Wellbeing and workplace culture C B

Bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment C- C


AMA Queensland 2018 Resident Hospital Health Check

Mackay Hospital E+ C C C C- C-
Mater Hospital B- D B- A- B- B-
Metro South HHS C- C- C C- C- C-
North West HHS B+ A+ C- A- C+ B+

Michelle Price has been working as a journalist since 1999 and loves human interest pieces.

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