06 April 2018

Over two-thirds of Junior Medical Officers (JMOs) felt supported and would recommend their hospital as a great place to work and train, according to an Australian-first survey.

NSW Health’s Your Training and Wellbeing Matters survey canvassed the views of 1,910 junior doctors with the aim of improving the working life of doctors in training.

The survey also found that 90 per cent of JMOs said they have “good” supervision in hours, and 72 per cent said supervision was also “good” after hours.

NSW Health’s Executive Director, Workforce Planning & Development, Robyn Burley said it is one of 10 major initiatives of the JMO Wellbeing and Support Plan, which was released in November 2017 following a ground-breaking forum convened by Health Minister Brad Hazzard to address concerns raised by young doctors about the pressures they faced.

“The Plan aims to address concerns from junior doctors in relation to their health, wellbeing, training and working environment, with the initiatives being rolled out in 2018 and early 2019,” Ms Burley said.

“It is the first time that a training and wellbeing survey of all employed junior medical officers has been undertaken by any state or territory in Australia.

“The results will be instrumental to improving the working environment and wellbeing of our junior medical staff members,” Ms Burley said.

“While the results are encouraging, we’d like to see improvement. For instance, 48 per cent of JMOs indicated that they are able to achieve healthy work life balance, and 50 per cent said they have time most days to have a meal break.”

“The Plan aims to address concerns from junior doctors, with the initiatives rolled out over the next 12 to 18 months.”

As part of the Plan, NSW Health has already implemented a review of JMO rostering practices, and two new safe working hour standards. These standards state that no junior doctor should be rostered for shift periods totalling more than 14 consecutive hours and ensuring there is a break after rostered shift periods of at least 10 hours. Further changes to these standards are being considered as part of the JMO Wellbeing and Support Plan actions.

The next survey will be conducted in November 2018.

The JMO Wellbeing and Support Plan is available at JMO wellbeing.