Wide Bay Health Service Gets B- From Junior Docs

Doctors perform surgery together.

Wide Bay Health has been ranked by junior doctors as one of the best employers in the state.

Australian Medical Association (AMA) Queensland’s annual junior doctor public hospital report card, the 2018 Resident Hospital Health Check (RHHC), was based on a survey of 615 junior doctors aroun the state.

Junior doctors delivered an overall mark of B- for Wide Bay Hospital and Health Services, measured against five criteria including workplace culture, bullying and harassment and career progression. 

AMA Queensland Council of Doctors in Training Executive Committee member Dr Bav Manoharan said Wide Bay Health junior doctors recorded several improvements over last year.

“For Instance, the 2018 RHHC revealed 79 per cent of junior doctors reported that they received adequate breaks between shifts compared with 75 per cent in 2017 and 80 per cent were satisfied their leave compared with 71 per cent last year, ” he said.

Dr Manoharan said the 2018 report card, however, revealed some concerning trends.

“More than one third of junior doctors employed by Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service said they had been bullied, harassed or discriminated against at work and 31 percent had witnessed a colleague being bullied or harassed,” he said.

The survey also found more than half (54 per cent) felt concerned there may be negative consequences if they reported bullying and only 20 per cent believed reported incidents were appropriately dealt with.

“Wide Bay HHS, which includes five hospitals and numerous health centres and clinics, is particularly disturbing with 36 per cent of junior doctors feeling their safety had been compromised at work,” Dr Manoharan said.

“Alarmingly, 36 per cent were worried about making a clinical error due to fatigue caused by the hours they work.”

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.

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 A+ B

Career progression and development C B-
Hours of work and overtime A- B+

Wellbeing and workplace culture C C+
Bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment C D+


AMA Queensland 2018 Resident Hospital Health Check


Wide Bay HHS A+ C A- C C B-

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

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