The report examines the Occupational Health and Safety issue relating to stress amongst the diminishing medical profession in the Victorian Public Health System (VPHS) who have recognised that they are risking their patients’ lives by working long hours.
An article published in the Herald Sun newspaper on the 15th of July 2008 by Medical Reporter Grant McArthur provided an accurate picture of issues confronting the medical workforce. The data in relation to this article has been collated from a recent survey conducted by the Herald Sun newspaper on almost 1800 doctors from around Victoria. Each of the doctors was provided with a questionnaire to complete. The completed surveys were analysed by an independent research company.
The article reveals that doctors are dangerously tired, overworked and stressed by working excessive hours. This survey was triggered by the recent increase in compensation claims in relation to workplace stress. The survey showed that 47% of the Victorian doctors work more than 50 hours a week and a further 8% work more than 70 hours a week. As a result of this, doctors admitted that they have compromised the care and safety of their patients. Doctors have been found seeking counselling through the Victorian Doctor’s Health Program for the problems associated with stress and fatigue. Some doctors are even considering leaving the medical profession due to the current situation, claiming that they do not have time to have a break, let alone go to the toilet or have lunch.
Experts are finding that the current shortage in the number of doctors employed is remarkably serious as it is both a demand and supply shortage and it’s likely to worsen in the coming years. On the demand side, the number of inpatient, critical, labour-intensive patients has increased because of both the aging population and medicine’s success in keeping ill patients alive longer, thus requiring increased medical attention to care for these patients. On the...