A SURVEY of the working conditions and wellbeing of junior medical workforce in the AMA (WA) 2023 Hospital Health Check has ranked St John of God Healthcare as the best performing employer overall, followed by the North Metropolitan Health Service.
The worst performing employers were the Child and Adolescent Health Service and King Edward Memorial Hospital.
St John of God, North Metropolitan and the WA Country Health Service have also improved their scores in the area of morale and culture.
AMA (WA) president Dr Michael Page said that instances of bullying, discrimination, and harassment remained a concern within hospitals, with 46 per cent of survey respondents witnessing such behaviours in their workplaces.
“It is vital to address these issues promptly, as they undermine the principles of compassionate care and professional integrity.”
Dr Page said improvements in results were a direct result of strong advocacy by the AMA and its doctors in training practice group in areas such as wage theft, roster compliance and mandatory training payments.
“High burnout is prevalent across most sites, with North Metropolitan Health Service ranking best and Child and Adolescent Health Service ranking worst. This was a worrying trend,” he said.
“Burnout has a direct impact on the attractiveness of our health system, both for our own crop of junior doctors, but also in terms of attracting doctors from interstate and overseas.
“Other jurisdictions such as Queensland are working much harder to attract doctors to their health systems, and failing to retain and attract doctors here will have a direct bearing on the ability of WA to continue to maintain a top-class health system.
“Access to care for Western Australian patients is only going to worsen if our state government doesn’t take a serious look at what the other states are doing to attract and retain doctors.”
Despite a number of positive developments, scores across the hospital system for roster compliance still fall below desired standards.
Delays in roster releases and non-compliance with scheduling requirements indicate the need for better management practices that prioritise the well-being of healthcare professionals and enhance patient care, and access to leave remains an important concern, despite improvements.
“The fact that this issue persists indicates the need for ongoing efforts to prioritise the well-being and work-life balance of our dedicated healthcare workforce,” Dr Page said.
ST John of God Midland Public and Private Hospital (SJGHC) chief executive officer Paul Dyer said he was appreciative of his junior doctors who have recognised the healthcare provider as the best overall performer in the annual AMA health check.
“SJGHC places great focus on providing a dedicated, supportive learning environment for all our junior doctors. Building team morale, embedding a collaborative culture and ensuring that staff have access to leave are all areas where our concerted efforts have seen an overall improvement for this year’s survey,” Mr Dyer said.
“Having received the highest ranking of WA hospitals across five of the seven HHC focus areas, we are grateful to our doctors in training (DiT) community for recognising us as the best overall employer.
“This is an encouraging outcome and reflective of the values-driven leadership approach that is unique to SJGHC.”
Mr Dyer said moving forward, the hospital needed to work hard to maintain their ranking, reflect on the areas which still had room to improve and actively implement strategies to ensure a better workplace experience for the members of its junior doctor community.
“Since the last survey we have continued to actively recruit DiTs to ensure that our DiTs workloads are kept as manageable as possible. We have also implemented an electronic overtime claim system bypassing many of the barriers to DiTs claiming payment for the work done,” he said.
“We are also close to finalising a country program for resident medical officers starting in January 2024.