MAITLAND hospital has been banned by a peak medical college from training doctors due to concerns over underpayment, excessive workload and supervision.
The Royal Australian College of Physicians has withdrawn its training accreditation from the hospital and pulled its registrars.
The Australian Salaried Medical Officers Federation NSW said it came as "no surprise" to the union.
"In September we urgently intervened at the hospital when a group of registrars sought union help, and we uncovered a litany of issues including unsafe hours, inadequate supervision, support and training, and underpayments," the union said in a statement,
"The doctors were concerned that their workloads were so excessive that they did not have time to deliver proper care, with patients not being assessed thoroughly and some missing discharge plans.
"As a result of our action, registrars who were taking exams were immediately pulled out of Maitland and rotated back to John Hunter Hospital, so they could prepare for their exams and be properly supervised."
ASMOF NSW Doctors in Training Committee Co-Chair Raj Ubeja said "once again doctors in training are having to pick up the slack when a hospital is not properly staffed, and it has now reached a crisis point".
"Doctors welfare and patient safety are at risk and Hunter New England LHD must listen to the union and our delegates and act now to implement the changes we have recommended," he said.
"Doctors in training deserve a safe workplace where they are properly supervised and have the chance to develop their skills to provide the best care to the community."
Hunter New England Health said it had sought a deferment of the decision and was awaiting a response from the college.
"Physician training is an important teaching component in the public health service and I am working closely with our senior team to address the issues raised by the College," said Hunter New England Health chief executive Michael DiRienzo.
"After discussion with our trainees, the district has strengthened our basic physician training education program and introduced protected teaching time, to ensure trainees have access to the required training for the program."
He said rosters had been altered after "feedback from our trainees about more equitable workloads". Missing meal and travel allowances have been identified and paid.
Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison said she was very concerned.
"For the situation to get to the point where a medical college has banned a hospital from taking on students is terrible," she said.
"It is staggering that it would have to get to this level. I am asking the minister for a frank and urgent briefing.
"This is an issue which must be resolved for the students but also the existing staff and the patients."
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