A news advertorial by Catie Norman
Given the importance of their often life-saving work, it should come as no surprise that doctors are among the most trusted professionals in the country. But no amount of gratitude from the public can make up for the private turmoil many of them are experiencing.
Recently, a number of junior doctors came forward to complain of unfavourable working conditions at Sunshine Hospital. Excessive overtime, fatigue, missing out on essential clinical training, and bullying were just some of the issues raised.
Sadly, they’re not alone. A survey published in 2018 found 20 per cent of junior doctors in Australia had experienced suicidal thoughts. Around half reported moderate to high levels of distress.
I find it unacceptable that so many of these young professionals, who are doing their best to help our community, are suffering in silence. This puts at risk not only their own physical and mental health but that of their patients, too.
Doctors, regardless of their experience or location, are required to balance their increasingly demanding jobs with looking after themselves. In this daily struggle, statistics suggest the former always prevails.
But it doesn’t have to be so. Legal action has been launched through the Fair Work Commission on behalf of the junior doctors at Sunshine Hospital. We can only hope the proceedings will result in an improvement of working conditions, though it may be too late to prevent the onset of psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression.
Any medical practitioner who has suffered psychological injuries due to their work conditions could be entitled to compensation and should therefore seek advice from legal practitioners who specialise in WorkCover.
Many junior doctors do not make complaints or seek legal advice as they are concerned about the ramifications of their employer finding out. In this regard, they should be assured that consulting with a legal practitioner is confidential and there is no obligation to pursue a claim.
Catie Norman is the Branch Manager of Shine Lawyers Sunshine.
Contact Shine Lawyers to schedule a free no-obligation consultation on 1800 860 461.