Top 6 gripes of junior doctors

By Michael Woodhead

30 Oct 2019

Concern over clinical rotations, long working hours and unpaid overtime top the concerns of junior doctors in a recent AMA workplace health survey.

Responses from almost 900 Resident Medical Officers (RMOs) working at 19 hospitals in Queensland showed that clinical rotation preferences were ranked the most important priority for junior doctors in 2019.

  1. Career progression: While 55% of respondents overall were satisfied that their clinical rotation preferences had been accommodated, in some hospitals as few as 34% of junior doctors said their preferences had been taken in into consideration.
  2. Leave: Access to leave was also a sore point for many, with only 64% of respondents satisfied that their leave preferences had been taken into consideration. Only 38% of junior doctors had applied for professional development leave, and it was denied to 27% of applicants.
  3. Unpaid overtime: One in five junior doctors reported not being fully paid for claimed overtime, and a further 23% said they had been advised not to claim overtime payment by admin or senior staff and feared this might lead to a negative assessment.
  4. Working hours: In some hospitals, up to 40% of junior doctors said they were working more than 90 hours including overtime per week, and overall 46% reported that they had been concerned about making a clinical error due to fatigue related to long work hours.
  5. Workplace culture: On a positive note, the numbers of doctors experiencing or witnessing bullying, harassment or discrimination were 12% and 16% respectively, down from 38% and 43% in the previous year. However only 23% of junior doctors reported incidents they experienced or witnessed, and only 55% felt that when reported the incident was adequately dealt with.
  6. Violence at work: 22% of junior doctors reported that they had felt unsafe at work.

AMA Queensland said it had invited directors of clinical training, medical education units or other interested parties to discuss ways to improve their conditions for prospective doctors-in-training.

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