Survey highlights poor management and low morale in public health sector

Survey highlights poor management and low morale in public health sector

Tuesday 31 October 2017


Almost half of Western Australian doctors considered resignation during the last 12 months as a result of work experiences – particularly poor management within hospitals – a survey conducted by the Australian Medical Association (WA) has shown.


The survey, one of the largest and most extensive ever conducted by the AMA (WA), indicates clearly the serious lack of a close or supportive working relationship between management and clinicians at WA hospitals.


The survey reflects angst and anger on the part of senior doctors across the health system, with many of them calling out the system as ‘broken’ and ‘in crisis’.


AMA (WA) President Dr Omar Khorshid said the survey demonstrated a hospital system riven by division between medical staff and hospital management.


“This major survey of senior clinicians clearly indicates that trust has been lost between medical staff and management. The survey dramatically demonstrates that many doctors have become embittered. I know some have left this state while others have retired early,” Dr Khorshid said.


“Culture in health management must be changed to handle the problems highlighted by the survey,” he said.


According to the survey, 47.9 per cent of doctors had considering resigning or relocating from the hospital they were working at.


The AMA (WA) also received a number of comments from clinicians stating that they had already left the public health system in WA due to a lack of engagement with management.


In relation to any change in culture at their hospital, 43.4 per cent of respondents said it had deteriorated, with another 33.1 per cent indicating that culture was ‘unchanged’.


A massive 80 per cent of respondents at Princess Margaret Hospital said morale was either ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’; compared to 54.6 per cent at St John of God Midland Hospital; 40 per cent at Royal Perth Hospital; 34.6 per cent at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital; and 31.8 per cent at Joondalup Health Campus.


“Communication and consultation between doctors and hospital management is a vital part of efficiency and proper management of our health system,” Dr Khorshid said.


“This loss of confidence by doctors in hospital management has been a gradual slippage but the survey demonstrates in a crystal clear manner that it has now reached a level of extremely serious concern.


“We have a large, growing and very damaging problem with behaviour. If we do not move as a profession on this matter immediately our State’s health system will be damaged and we will be the weaker as a community. Most worryingly, healthcare will suffer,” he said.


The survey flows from a smaller one conducted earlier this year to measure the level of morale of doctors at PMH which, when presented to the State Government, brought about major changes to leadership and administration.


To view the survey, please click here.

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