Action to improve work environments for our junior doctors

Sarah Courtney,Minister for Health

The Hodgman majority Liberal Government is focused on continuing to deliver our plan to build a better health system for all Tasmanians.

Last night’s meeting between Senior Hospital Management, the Secretary, Chief Medical Officer and myself was very productive.

The Executive Director of Medical Services is meeting with staff later this week and will outline a range of initiatives, which include:

  • A second overnight medical registrar position at the RHH. This position will give junior doctors additional support after hours and put downward pressure on their workloads. This is expected to be in place within a fortnight; and
  • The RHH has already moved to recruit an additional 12 junior doctors to assist in rostering issues and ease workload pressures for 2020.

There is always a degree of attrition among junior medical staff as some of them are promoted in to registrar positions at RHH or receive offers from other hospitals and choose to pursue their careers elsewhere. That has happened this year as it has in other years, but the additional recruitment will help alleviate issues raised by the junior doctors.

In addition, the Royal’s Executive Director of Medical Services, Dr Stephen Ayre, will be holding an all medical staff forum later this week where he will provide feedback on the junior medical workforce, an after hours staffing review and discuss a range of other initiatives including:

– Reviewing after hours rosters, in evenings and overnight, to reduce long shifts and overtime demands on junior staff, which will focus on fatigue reduction;

– Improved collaboration between medical and surgical teams and other staff working after hours, so staff can better support each other;

– Better rostering and shift times, to coordinate improved patient handover;

– Measures to improve access to protected training time, recognising the importance of professional development for junior medical staff; and

– Improved support through oversight and mentoring of junior staff with a focus on staff welfare.

I will continue to engage with hospital leadership and our medical staff, as we strive towards improving their workplace environments in our hospitals around Tasmania.

/Public Release. The material in this public release comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.