Half our junior doctors told not to claim overtime
GLADSTONE Hospital management says it pays overtime despite a new survey showing 50% of junior medicos in Central Queensland were "advised" by senior staff to not ask to be paid for working extra hours.
A survey of junior doctors employed by the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service shows 33% working more than 90 hours a fortnight at Gladstone and Rockhampton public hospitals.
About half the medicos feared they would make clinical errors because of fatigue.
The Australian Medical Association Resident Hospital Health Check 2017 reveals about half of junior medics experienced and/or witnessed bullying, harassment or discrimination.
About two thirds of those surveyed said the reported incidents were addressed.
It must be noted that the survey sample size was small, with only 20% of the state's 2267 resident medical officers taking part.
The number of CQHHS doctors who responded to the survey was not available.
CQHHS Medical Services acting executive director Dr Tim Smart said there had been no clinical incidents because of fatigue.
Dr Smart said doctors who worked "legitimate approved and verified" overtime were paid for it.
However, he said it was a policy that medical interns not do overtime.
"We fully comply with Queensland Health fatigue management policy," Dr Smart said.
"If, for rostering reasons, we are unable to comply then we have a series of mitigation processes in place in line with the guidelines.
"These cases are closely monitored."
AMA Queensland Council of Doctors in Training chair Dr Matthew Cheng said he was stunned at how many of the state's hospitals had an issue with bullying and that overall there had been no improvement on last year's survey.
Across the board, 47% of doctors said they were exposed to toxic behaviour in the workplace, compared to 45% in 2016.
Nearly two thirds (61%) of respondents feared their careers would be harmed if they reported bad behaviour and that their future training would be impacted.
"It's pretty astounding - it's surprising," Dr Cheng told NewsRegional.
"The medical system is very hierarchical, there is a lot of stress and I guess sometimes people take advantage of that system."
Dr Cheng said young doctors often felt their career progression could stall if they claimed overtime.
A Queensland Health spokesman said overtime, fatigue management and bullying and harassment practices were governed by legislation, policy and/or certified agreements.
"Patient safety and employee well-being, including staff fatigue, are taken seriously by Queensland Health," he said.