Almost a third of junior doctors at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital have been a victim of bullying, harassment and discrimination.
Almost a third of junior doctors at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital have been a victim of bullying, harassment and discrimination. Warren Lynam

Bullying, discrimination rife at Coast hospital

ALMOST a third of junior doctors at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital have been a victim of bullying, harassment and discrimination.

A new report released by the Australian Medical Association ranked the hospital as one of the worst in the state.

The report card showed 28 per cent of junior doctors had been bullied, harassed or discriminated against, while nearly half had witnessed cases.

The 2018 Resident Hospital Health Check surveyed 615 junior doctors statewide.

AMA Queensland Council of Doctors in Training Executive Committee member Dr Bav Manoharan said the survey revealed concerning trends.

"The (university hospital) is particularly disturbing with 62 per cent of junior doctors worried about negative consequences if they reported bullying," Dr Manoharan said.

"Only 8 per cent felt reported incidents were appropriately addressed."

Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service acting executive director of medical services Dr Mauritius Du Toit said the findings were being taken seriously.

He said any independent survey carried significant weight and was treated accordingly.

"This is being taken very seriously. It is something we are reviewing, we need to do better," Dr Du Toit said.

"We need to have conversations with both juniors and seniors, which we will implement over the next few weeks.

"We will have face-to-face meetings with our junior doctors' society to understand the issues. This warrants a special meeting."

Dr Du Toit said under hospital guidelines, any incidents of bullying, harassment and discrimination could be reported a number of ways.

Doctors could approach medical superintendents, human resources and directors, or report via the employment assistance program.

He said anonymous reports were an option ,but discouraged them as it was "problematic" to get information.

"Sixty-two per cent being worried about the consequences of reporting is something we aren't happy with," he said.

"We will run our own additional surveys and look at employing senior independent clinicians to act as mentors.

"The culture of trust needs to be better."

He said the hospital had a zero tolerance policy to any incident, but that each was dealt on a case-by-case basis.

SCUH's 2018 report card

  • Access to annual leave: B-
  • Career progression and development: D+
  • Hours of work and overtime: B-
  • Wellbeing and workplace culture: B
  • Bullying and harassment: D+
  • Overall: C


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