We know that junior doctors often feel like their voice and experience within a health service is not heard. Longstanding issues line the halls of hospitals, with little change or action over years.
Many generations of junior doctors have no doubt suffered in a variety of work environments. Unsupported rotations, poor or non-existent supervision, working outside of comfort zone, lack of education programs, COVID disruptions, and more all contribute to the stress and strain of being a junior doctor.
Suffering in silence no more, whether your health service will not or cannot make improvements, the PMCV Accreditation program can ensure that your voice is heard, and your workplace is changed for the better.
So, what is Accreditation?
Many junior doctors are not aware of the purpose and role of the PMCV Accreditation process.
“Accreditation is important as it enforces the required standards for which each junior doctor is entitled to, and mandates health services which do not meet these standards must address and implement change.”
The Accreditation process can assist junior doctors when they are facing issues whilst working in a health service, including poor supervision, unmanageable workload, bullying and harassment, unpaid overtime, and a lack of access to mandatory teaching time.
It is important for all junior doctors to remember that you can speak to PMCV if you are currently experiencing any of these problems in your health service.
Interns and HMO2 residents must be supervised in their work environments, either by a registrar or a consultant. Many junior doctors encounter rotations and shifts which have limited supervision, placing increased stress on the JMO, and possibly compromising patient safety.
Several junior doctors have worked many hours of unpaid overtime, a longstanding issue within health services, which PMCV works to address via our Accreditation process. Junior doctors deserve fair compensation for the hours worked, and we can work with health services to implement systems to address this chronic challenge.
Junior doctors are often torn between providing a service to patients in a health service and prioritising their own education and training. As prevocational medical professionals, interns and HMO2 residents are entitled to protected teaching time, meaning that you can attend educational sessions without the need to focus on treating patients or addressing work related issues. While this is often difficult to balance within many roles, PMCV can mandate health service to prevent education disruption via our Accreditation process.
Providing feedback to health service
Unsurprisingly, junior doctors may feel afraid to speak up about the issues they are facing or provide negative feedback of their rotation, supervisor, consultants or hospital directly to their health service because of a fear of becoming identified and compromising future job prospects. The distinct hierarchical nature of the medical profession and health system makes it difficult to challenge the status quo.
“PMCV provides a safe and independent space to share your thoughts, feelings and experience without directly involving your employer.”
Junior doctors and the broader medical community often exist in a culture of confidentiality, where even the experience of an individual doctor is not shared, as it challenges the norm in an otherwise archaic system. This perpetuates the current system of suffering in silence. With PMCV’s Accreditation process, junior doctors can escape this reality, and help develop their working environment to a more supportive and sustainable future.
As the Accreditation process is not highly visible to JMOs within their health service, they aren’t fully informed about their rights and the protections and support that they’re afforded under the program. But what solutions exist to assist JMOs in speaking up and improving their working conditions?
How does PMCV support JMOs?
One of the best ways to improve the working conditions of junior doctors is by giving feedback to PMCV through Accreditation Surveys. When JMOs speak up, we can work with you to create change within your health service.
We follow a process that ensures health services are meeting the National Standards of Accreditation. Like road rules, where failing to adhere to the speed limit earns drivers a fine, health services earn Conditions on their Accreditation when failing to adhere to the standards, but unlike a fine the Condition demands a change by the Health Service to maintain accredited.
PMCV is empowered by junior doctors to enforce the Standards set by the Medical Board of Australia. In these instances, PMCV takes on the role of VicRoads, giving power to the JMOs as the police to report instances of compromised wellbeing and poor supervision which will ultimately improve patient safety.
When feedback of concern is received about a health service, PMCV will step in and work with the health service and JMOs to assess and address these concerns. We may enforce an action plan with changes that health services must follow if they wish to stay accredited.
In profoundly serious situations where patient safety is threatened or the workplace environment is deemed to be unsuitable for the education and training of junior doctors, PMCV may disaccredit posts. This means that a health service loses the ability to employ interns and/or HMO2 residents in those positions for a period.
Whilst PMCV performs scheduled reviews of health services, it is imperative that JMOs not wait until the review period to raise concerns. With the outcomes of both doctor and patient safety in jeopardy, we need you to step forward sooner rather than later.
The benefits of PMCV’s support
An active dialogue between JMOs and PMCV ensures that we can step in and create a better working environment for you. This means that patient safety is upheld when JMOs are working in environments where they are properly trained and educated.
JMOs play a significant role in maintaining this active dialogue and have an influence over it. PMCV relies heavily on your feedback through surveys, which are often ready for you to complete at the time PMCV is performing a regular review of the health service.
It’s understandable that some junior doctors may experience survey burnout, but your contributions are extremely important. JMOs that speak up will not be the minority – they will be a strong voice for change in the health service and wider JMO community.
There is also an opportunity for JMOs to be part of our Accreditation process. PMCV will conduct interviews with junior doctors as part of Accreditation Survey Visits, where Conditions and recommendations may be imposed on the health services, and we hold the health service accountable to comply. JMOs are always interviewed, with anonymity, as part of that Survey visit giving you another opportunity to have your say!
PMCV takes concerns with the utmost seriousness and will support any JMO that comes forward to engage with us. Additionally, those that give feedback can do so confidentially – your details will not be released under any circumstance to the health service in question. Additionally, all feedback is collated, and individual feedback is never provided to a health service, so re-identification of isn’t possible.
For PMCV to support you to the fullest extent, we need to hear your voice, listen to your experiences and understand your concerns. Without feedback from you, the junior doctor, PMCV is unable to ensure that JMOs receive the best education and training.
Submit your confidential feedback for each rotation here and follow us on Facebook for more information.