More must be done to ensure young doctors don’t walk away because of burnout

Jul 6, 2023 | Libby Mettam MLA, State News

Morale and wellbeing issues among doctors at Western Australia’s flagship children’s
hospital are being wilfully ignored by the Cook Labor Government and putting the health of children at risk.

The latest Hospital Health Check report by the AMA WA found King Edward Memorial
Hospital (KEMH) and the Child and Adolescent Health Services (CAHS), which includes
Perth Children’s Hospital (PCH) were the worst performing in terms of morale and culture, and rosters and workload.

“The Hospital Health Check report shines a light on the poor morale and stressful workload facing our best and brightest young doctors at KEMH and PCH,” Ms Mettam said.

“I am also genuinely concerned by the high levels of burnout being felt by young doctors across WA’s health sector, and in particular at CAHS and KEMH.

“We are already facing a shortage of GPs across WA – we need to nurture, support, and
protect these young doctors to ensure they don’t walk away.”

Levels of bullying and harassment in our public health system is also concerning, with
almost one in two doctors surveyed witnessing bullying, discrimination and sexual

That figure was higher among doctors at KEMH with only one in four being able to say they had not witnessed bullying, discrimination or harassment.

“While I recognise our health workers are working in intense, high-pressure situations, that is not an excuse to engage in unacceptable workplace behaviour,” Ms Mettam said.

“Bullying and harassment in any workplace is simply not good enough.”

Ms Mettam said the AMA WA Hospital Health Check report should send a strong signal to
the Cook Labor Government to prioritise the wellbeing of our healthcare workers, to ensure avoidable mistakes aren’t made.

“How can the parents of sick kids have faith in WA’s public hospital system, if our doctors don’t?,” Ms Mettam said.

“Our doctors do an incredible job at our time of need but I worry that burnout combined with chronic understaffing and poor working conditions could lead to bad health outcomes.”

“It is about time Roger Cook got his head around the health portfolio and fixed WA’s broken health system.”