‘Bullies’ shut down hospital training



The Princess Alexandra Hospital has lost accreditation to train all but one of its orthopaedic surgery registrars amid complaints of bullying and harassment, which date back at least four years.

A review by interstate surgeons for the Australian Orthopaedic Association resulted in the withdrawal of four of the hospital's five orthopaedic surgery training posts last month.

It follows a 2018 decision to strip accreditation from the Princess Alexandra Hospital for two of the five positions. Accreditation for those orthopaedic training jobs was only reinstated at the start of this year.

The Courier-Mail understands the Australian Orthopaedic Association called an emergency accreditation review of the Princess Alexandra Hospital's training program in July, which raised renewed concerns about the standard of supervision for orthopaedic surgery trainees, workplace assessments, support for undertaking ward rounds and the level of respect and professionalism being demonstrated.

Princess Alexandra Hospital. Photo: David Kapernick
Princess Alexandra Hospital. Photo: David Kapernick

That assessment resulted in the decision to remove four of the hospital's five orthopaedic training registrars.

The only one remaining is connected to orthopaedic tumour surgery at the hospital.

A Princess Alexandra Hospital spokesman said the facility's leadership team was working with the orthopaedic department and had arranged for additional doctors to replace the four orthopaedic trainees.

The Princess Alexandra Hospital spokesman said the team was working across Metro South Health for options to manage demand and redistribute elective orthopaedic surgery across its hospitals, which include the QEII, Logan, Redland and Beaudesert hospitals.

"There is no disruption to emergency and trauma-related orthopaedic surgery at Princess Alexandra Hospital," the spokesman said.

The hospital, which performs some of the most complicated orthopaedic surgery in the state, has advertised for Principal House Officers in orthopaedics.

Principal House Officers are junior doctors with less experience than a training registrar.

Queensland Opposition health spokeswoman Ros Bates described the situation as a "major blow" to the orthopaedic training program at one of Queensland's biggest hospitals.

"The Palaszczuk Government needs to explain why training accreditation was lost and the impact this will have on the ability to train future surgeons," Ms Bates said.

Orthopaedic surgery training takes, on average, five years to complete.

The four Princess Alexandra Hospital orthopaedic registrars who have had to leave the hospital after the accreditation withdrawal are understood to have been given training positions at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, The Prince Charles Hospital, Redcliffe Hospital and QEII so they are not disadvantaged.

The change to Princess Alexandra Hospital's orthopaedic training program does not affect its ability through Prevocational Medical Accreditation Queensland to provide education and training for newly graduated doctors, known as interns.






Originally published as 'Bullies' shut down hospital training