Media Statement – Workforce Burnout

12 May 2022

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians says it is deeply concerned about mass burnout in the health workforce, which is creating a crisis in some of Australia’s hospitals.

Dr Jacqueline Small, incoming President of the RACP says “We are facing a serious crisis in our hospitals. Physicians are absolutely burnt out and exhausted – and there is no respite.”

An RACP survey published in November 2021 revealed 87% of RACP members surveyed were concerned about burnout.

Dr Small noted Professor John Wilson AM, outgoing President of the RACP is sufficiently concerned about this issue that he has personally decided to resign as a leading respiratory physician after 30 years in the healthcare system.

“We know as a starting point we need the Government to improve workforce modelling to alleviate the pressures on frontline workers, Dr Small says.

“The current modelling is clearly not working and we’re getting to the point where there are reports that patients aren’t getting the hospital care they need.

“We have been warning about workforce burnout for months now, and the problem seems to be only getting worse.

“We need workplaces to step up in every way they can to support their staff right now – but we know that this is a systemic issue facing our healthcare workforce and a solution must be wider than individual hospitals. Workplace culture must change to prevent this accelerate loss of skill from the healthcare industry.

“We need urgent Government intervention to step in and start taking action to alleviate the pressures on frontline staff and put in place a better workforce plan to protect the welfare of our physicians."

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