Mercury (Hobart) - - FRONT PAGE - DAVID KIL­LICK Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor

TALKS with doc­tors at the Royal Ho­bart Hos­pi­tal had been pos­i­tive and the Gov­ern­ment was keen to ad­dress their con­cerns over work­loads and train­ing, Health Min­is­ter Sarah Court­ney said yes­ter­day.

Ms Court­ney held meet­ings with staff at the Royal af­ter a let­ter rais­ing con­cerns about work­ing conditions was signed by more than 150 ju­nior doc­tors.

“The Gov­ern­ment un­der­stands that they do have a range of con­cerns, and as a gov­ern­ment we are lis­ten­ing to those and tak­ing ac­tion,” she said af­ter the meet­ing.

“We’ve al­ready taken ac­tion ear­lier this week, by say­ing that we’re go­ing to be re­cruit­ing 12 more ju­nior doc­tors next year, as well as the sec­ond overnight reg­is­trar.

“I was re­ally pleased with the pos­i­tive en­gage­ment that we had, ev­ery­one wants to work to­gether to find so­lu­tions.

“We’re very proud of the Royal Ho­bart, and we want to see great pa­tient out­comes there. So I was re­ally pleased with ev­ery­body com­ing for­ward with ideas, so­lu­tions, but also their hon­esty and frank­ness in these dis­cus­sions.

“I’m re­ally hope­ful that these dis­cus­sions and the work that’s being done right now and the ac­tions that have been taken this week will be seen pos­i­tively and will also make peo­ple feel pos­i­tive about work­ing at the Royal. It’s a great fa­cil­ity.”

Ms Court­ney said there was a range of changes being con­sid­ered to im­prove conditions for ju­nior doc­tors and more would be con­sid­ered based on fur­ther feed­back.

Also yes­ter­day, Au­di­tor-Gen­eral Rod White­head re­leased a re­port into the ros­ter­ing of spe­cial­ists in the state’s ma­jor hos­pi­tals.

He found the sys­tem was ca­sual, in­con­sis­tent and suf­fered from poor over­sight.

“While the process for es­tab­lish­ing and man­ag­ing ros­ters is gen­er­ally de­fined, it is pre­dom­i­nantly man­ual based and not usu­ally rec­on­ciled to hours worked,” he said.

“Such prac­tices means that it was dif­fi­cult to track changes to ros­ters and pro­vide trans­parency across all spe­cial­ists in the depart­ment.”

Timesheets were only used spar­o­d­i­cally to show ac­tual hours worked, he said.

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