- On July 11, 2019
- July / August 2019
FROM THE CEO
Checking the health of our profession
Protecting doctors at all stages of their careers – from doctors-in-training to senior clinicians – is important to the AMA.
Last month, we launched our third annual Hospital Health Check survey for doctors-in-training. The survey is an important opportunity for AMA (NSW) to find out what junior doctors really think about working in our public hospitals. Each year, we use the results as a platform from which to launch our advocacy for improved conditions for doctors-in-training. Following each survey, we meet with chief executives to discuss how the results impact on their hospital and what they are doing to care for their staff. These meetings provide an opportunity to highlight the commendable things hospitals are doing and provide some positive feedback.
We also use the survey to draw attention to the problems in the system, particularly around unrostered overtime. This continues to be our biggest concern, with doctors reporting being actively discouraged from claiming overtime and/or not being paid when they do. While there is nothing new to this culture, it’s a culture we need to change. We know that our senior doctor members are also under pressure and feeling unsupported. Senior doctors and particularly heads of department hold the unfair burden of balancing budgets in a system under serious strain. While paying doctors-in-training overtime won’t fix everything, we need to start somewhere to break the cycle of doctors being expected to give more and more for less in return.
Looking after the profession has always been important to the AMA. However, this tenet became even more critical following the challenging media issues which arose last month. From the concern over a lack of accountability in a high charging specialist, to the terrible opinion piece from Nikki Gemmell in The Australian about male obstetricians – there has been an attempt to divide the profession and damage doctors’ reputations. The AMA has been there to respond to each issue and to remind the community of the incredible work of ordinary, hard-working doctors, as well as highlight the care they provide and the need to support our doctors every day.