As a College of Specialist Medical Leaders RACMA takes very seriously the issue of doctors’ wellbeing. Staff wellbeing is an absolute essential for patient safety and quality of care. Having psychological safety for all staff is key to building resilient health teams and improving the services we deliver to our communities.
We are extremely concerned that situations such as that described in the recent publicity of a negative and damaging pre-vocational doctor’s experience and that instances such as this appear to persist within our health systems. One of our key advocacies as a Specialty College is protecting and addressing health risk for doctors. RACMA and its members do not tolerate behaviours in the health system which allow or encourage the practice of any form of discrimination, harassment, coercion, taking advantage or bullying that threaten the wellbeing of any medical practitioner.
Health care settings and their leaders are managing in a complex and demanding environment where budgetary challenges, the need for trainees to meet training requirements and ensuring hospitals have the required medical staff cover is often a balancing act. However, creating expectations of working long hours, and often as unpaid overtime, can no longer be considered the best way to meet these service requirements.
The practice described of expecting pre-vocational doctors to forgo the rights to a safe work environment and allowing opportunistic work practices to prove their worth and seek favour must not be supported. All levels of Governments, Specialist Medical Colleges, Industrial bodies and employers must work together to ensure that practices such as those described recently in the media are no longer condoned or allowed to occur. Industrial agreements and Codes such as the AMA’s National Code Of Practice: Hours of Work, Shiftwork and Rostering for Hospital Doctors (which can be viewed by clicking HERE) outline what the expectations are for safe work practices.
As a specialist Medical College, we ensure that Medical Leaders have the required knowledge and skills to support, encourage and sustain a safe working environment for all doctors. RACMA imbues these principles through its Fellowship Training program, specialised medical leadership education through its CPD programs and Leadership for Clinician program that equips Clinical Leaders in leadership skills and our advocacy work. Organisations are required to empower its Specialist Leaders to enforce these codes and protect all our medical staff.
RACMA believes that Fellowship of RACMA is the required eminent specialist qualification for medical leaders in our health system. RACMA calls on all Colleges, employers and advocacy bodies to work together to protect the wellbeing of the next generation of medical specialists.