Submission to the Inquiry Into Workplace Fatigue and Bullying in South Australian Hospitals and Health Services


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The Find a Surgeon directory is a listing of active Fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons who meet the requirements of the College's Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Program and have opted to be on the list. This list excludes retired or inactive Fellows.


31 January 2019


  • RACS has invested significant time and resources into mandatory training for its members to promote a healthy culture which provides a good template for SA Health.
  • The final EAG report, and the Steven's Report commissioned by SA Health, both highlighted a lack of understanding and confidence in existing complaints management processes.
  • RACS is currently reviewing its complaints management system with dedicated expertise and centralised recording. New specialised resources have been procured enabling the College to respond much more effectively.
  • Too often the complex system of complaints management in many Australian hospitals means that appropriate information is not shared.
  • To address this RACS and SA Health have recently signed a Statement of Intent aimed at achieving cultural change and agreeing to promote greater information sharing, and support for Fellows, Trainees and IMGs.
  • The economic realities of providing round the clock cover mean that workplace fatigue will always be a challenge for the medical workforce. While there are strategies that can be taken to reduce fatigue it is important that these strategies are carefully considered to ensure that they do not inadvertently undermine patient safety and surgical training.
  • RACS has established Standards for Safe Working Hours and Conditions for Fellows, Surgical Trainees and International Medical Graduates. These standards set out a series of recommendations which the common experience of surgeons suggests are most likely to minimise the chance of impairment of decision-making or performance in surgery.
  • RACS believes in some circumstances a 55-65 hour working week (across a seven day period) is appropriate for Trainees to gain the knowledge and experience required by the training program, and this is supported by recommendations from US and European health systems. These recommendations are detailed in our position paper on Appropriate Working Hours for Surgical Training in Australia and New Zealand.