The Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
The Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

Survey’s worrying findings about Coast’s young doctors

The Sunshine Coast's junior doctors worry they will make a clinical mistake because they are exhausted from working long hours, according to new survey results.

The Australian Medical Association Queensland has pleaded for government funding into wellbeing programs following the results of a survey of interns, house officers and other junior doctors.

Council of Doctors in Training chair Dr Maddison Taylor said the public hospital report card found that 52 per cent of surveyed Sunshine Coast doctors had concerns about making an error due to fatigue, and a quarter had not been fully paid for overtime.

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Dr Taylor said hospitals needed to be supportive, safe places for Queensland's next generation of doctors.

"As evidenced in the survey, doctors in training are working exceedingly long hours and in some cases without adequate senior support, this predisposes us to burnout, and increases the rates of anxiety and depression," she said.

Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service's acting executive director medical services Dr John Menzies said young doctors were a critical workforce who deserved support and development.

Dr Menzies also said the survey would have sampled only a limited number of hospital staff.

"This year has been a challenging year for all Queenslanders but we remain dedicated to providing an organisation that is supportive and provides great work-life balance," he said.

It's understood about $266,000 was provided under the Medical Practitioner Workforce Plan for Queensland in the past financial year to deliver the Wellbeing at Work program to Queensland interns.

A further $313,000 has been committed for junior doctor wellness initiatives this financial year.

AMA Queensland has called for an investment of $1.67 million from the State Government to fund a Wellness at Work program to ensure junior doctors receive resilience training and support needed in their first five years of training.

Dr Menzies said the Peer Support Program was implemented this year as part of the Culture of Care Program, to help support staff working with the COVID-19 response.

"We pride ourselves on being an organisation that not only states that we value our staff but consistently demonstrates that commitment by action," Dr Menzies said.

The survey also found some junior doctors were advised not to claim unrostered overtime, and others felt claiming would negatively affect their assessment.


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