REVEALED: Exhausted CQ trainee doctors fear grave mistakes
EXHAUSTED trainee doctors across Rockhampton say they fear making grave clinical errors due to working excessively long hours.
The concerning admission comes following a recent annual survey undertaken by AMA Queensland on the state’s public hospital system.
Around 730 interns, house officers and other junior doctors took part, comparing employment conditions at public hospitals across the state.
AMA Queensland Council of Doctors in Training chair Dr Maddison Taylor revealed 48 per cent of the region’s junior doctors reported their concerns about being overworked.
Unfortunately, more than a third of them claimed they had also not been fully compensated for those gruelling overtime hours worked.
“Disturbingly, 42 per cent of junior doctors in Rockhampton were advised not to claim unrostered overtime by an administrative officer or senior medical officer, and more than a quarter felt claiming would negatively affect their assessment,” Dr Taylor said.
Sadly, it appears extreme fatigue is not the only issue worrying Central Queensland staff.
Dr Taylor said this year’s survey also revealed a concerning rise in junior doctors feeling unsafe at work – increasing from 22 per cent last year to a recent 27 per cent.
This, she said, reflected both the ongoing and severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rates of bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment also reportedly remain quite high in public hospitals – despite recording a slight decrease since 2019.
“The rate of staff witnessing bullying, discrimination or sexual harassment of a colleague has stayed the same at just over 40 per cent,” she said.
“Of those who experienced or witnessed bullying, discrimination or sexual harassment, less than one-third reported the incident, and only 65 per cent felt the matter was handled adequately when they did report it. We need to do better.”
Dr Taylor further claimed more needed to be done to ensure the career longevity of the region’s young doctors.
“Doctors need to be able to work in healthy hospitals so they can provide the best possible patient care and thrive in their careers,” she said.
“It’s important not only to fix the systemic issues at play in our hospitals, but also to provide practical support and advice in those early years.”
AMA Queensland has since called upon the next State Government to commit more than $1.6 million in funding for resilience training and support for trainees.
CQHHS Executive Director Medical Dr Julieanne Graham said in response the aim was to create a positive work environment for all.
“Our junior doctors are a vital part of our frontline health workforce and we work hard to
ensure they are supported and nurtured during their career development,” she said.
“CQ Health has many programs in place to provide the tools these doctors need to do a
A variety of programs including peer support, resilence training, buddy programs and regular clinical education masterclasses were made available.
Dr Graham said The Resident Medical Officer Society was a strong advocate for the health and wellbeing of junior doctors in the region as they continue working to improve conditions.