REPORT CARD: Mackay Hospital scored an overall grade of C.
REPORT CARD: Mackay Hospital scored an overall grade of C.

Staggering crisis at Mackay Hospital revealed

A STAGGERING increase in workplace bullying cases and a sharp fall in the perceived quality of intern training has resulted in Mackay Base Hospital being labelled the "worst performer" in an annual junior doctor check up.

The shocking results were laid bare in the latest AMA Queensland public hospital report card comparing training employment conditions at hospitals across the state, based on a survey of 882 junior doctors.

The 2019 Resident Hospital Health Check showed 46 per cent of junior doctors at Mackay Base Hospital had witnessed and experienced workplace bullying, up 22 per cent from last year.


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The report card, which did not detail how many doctors in Mackay were surveyed, gave the hospital an overall grade of C.

Mackay Hospital and Health Service chief executive Jo Whitehead said the AMA survey data was not consistent with the anonymous surveys MHHS had conducted with its junior doctors.

Ms Whitehead said it had a zero-tolerance policy for workplace bullying and harassment.

Mackay Base Hospital received a C-plus for hours of work and overtime, a C for wellbeing and workplace culture and a C for bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment.

"It is very troubling that only 43 per cent of bullying incidents are being reported at Mackay and 42 per cent of those surveyed felt their safety had been compromised at work," AMA Queensland Council of Doctors in Training chair Hash Abdeen said.

"Notably, a third of junior doctors at Mackay are worried about making a clinical error due to fatigue caused by the long hours they are working."

But the bad news did not stop there - Mackay Base Hospital received an E-plus grade for career progression and development.

No other public hospital in the state received less than a C.

"Shockingly, only 8 per cent of respondents felt Mackay Hospital provides very good or excellent teaching and training, that's down from 47 per cent last year," Dr Abdeen said.

"If it wants to attract and retain our brilliant doctors in training, Mackay Hospital management needs to make some big improvements to workplace culture and conditions."

Ms Whitehead said MHHS runs a Junior Medical Officers forum every six weeks where junior doctors can raise issues directly with the executive leadership team.

She said issues raised were managed directly with the clinical unit for resolution.

Mackay Hospital and Health Service chief executive Jo Whitehead.
Mackay Hospital and Health Service chief executive Jo Whitehead.

"The Medical Education Unit has a formal curriculum for intern teaching and the feedback from surveys in September/October indicated 4.37 average satisfaction score out of a possible 5," Ms Whitehead said.

"We know that one way to see how satisfied junior doctors are is by looking at their retention rate.

"The percentage of junior house officers who asked to stay in the Mackay HHS to continue their training 2020 is at a record high of 80 per cent."

Ms Whitehead said MHHS would work with the AMA to ensure a positive experience for doctors.

In light of the survey result, AMA Queensland has renewed its calls for the State Government to expand a wellbeing program it said had been proven to support early career doctors.

"By investing $1.7 million, the successful Wellbeing at Work program could be made available to all doctors in their first five years of training, in addition to first-year interns," Dr Abdeen said.