The Australian Medical Association Queensland's Resident Hospital Health Check 2017 has been released.
The Australian Medical Association Queensland's Resident Hospital Health Check 2017 has been released. Iain Curry

Some senior Ipswich medicos bully junior doctors

THE rate of senior medical staff bullying junior doctors at Ipswich Hospital has been revealed.

A survey of young medicos at the hospital shows 45% experienced and/or witnessed bullying, discrimination or harassment on the job and more than half of the perpetrators were senior medicos, including consultants and registrars.

The Australian Medical Association Resident Hospital Health Check 2017 says a quarter (27%) of respondents felt something could be done about the behaviour and 82% believed they would face negative consequences if they reported it.

NewsRegional analysis of the data reveals no Ipswich hospital doctors worked more than 90 hours a fortnight but one third (33%) feared they would make clinical errors because of fatigue.

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 Ipswich hospital doctors who responded to the survey was not available.

West Moreton Hospital and Health Service Medical Services executive director Dr Pieter Pike said the service was determined to ensure all staff knew bad behaviour was not tolerated.

"The message that bullying, discrimination and harassment are not tolerated at West Moreton has been made very clear," Dr Pike said.

"There are internal channels in place to report bullying.

"Those reports are taken very seriously and I am confident that where issues of bullying have been raised, they have been appropriately addressed.

"As an organisation, we cannot help someone unless we know a problem exists."




Dr Pike said no one would be punished for reporting toxic behaviour.

"We are already planning changes to our formal orientation program to stress the importance of speaking up and ensuring all new interns know where to go for help.

"There is absolutely no penalty for any doctor who reports an issue of bullying or harassment and we hope the renewed focussing around reporting will help give doctors the confidence to speak up."

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.

- NewsRegional

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