Good hospital facilities essential to doctors’ performance

1 Nov 2021

The AMA has updated its Position Statement on Workplace Facilities and Accommodation for Hospital Doctors outlining the minimum and mandatory requirements for doctors to provide safe, high-quality patient care. 

The 2021 Position Statement contains a new introduction, a new section on lactation facilities and childcare facilities, and revised sections on heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC).

The response to COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of well-designed, installed and maintained HVAC systems to managing outbreaks of air-borne diseases.

Providing access to lactation facilities and childcare is essential to enabling parents to return to work and is a tangible action to promote gender equity in the workplace.

The position statement specifies appropriate workplace facilities and amenities such as clean, well-maintained showers, bathrooms and change rooms and separate areas for doctors to undertake administrative work on hospital wards with work spaces equipped with reliable Wi-Fi/internet and access to electronic records, test results and other clinical data.

Dr Hash Abdeen, Chair of the AMA’s Council of Doctors in Training, said the AMA understands there are limitations to hospital facilities, but innovative solutions should be considered in these circumstances and plans for greenfield sites or new facilities should incorporate the AMA recommendations on facilities and accommodation.

“If we expect our doctors to work long hours and overnight and to be there when we need them, we need to take care of their own health. Fatigue management is a big issue and having suitable spaces for rest and recovery are particularly important to prevent fatigue and ensure the high standards of patient care and safety are maintained.

Doctors in training completing AMA Hospital Health Checks across the country routinely report they are concerned that fatigue caused by long hours may cause clinical error and impacts on their personal safety.

Training requirements for doctors in training involve regular rotation to different hospitals and facilities and it is important that a consistent set of minimum standards are in place across these facilities.

This policy was endorsed by AMA Federal Council on 16 October 2021 and will inform enterprise bargaining negotiations for public hospital doctors in each state and territory moving forward.

Read the AMA Position Statement on Workplace Facilities and Accommodation for Hospital Doctors - 2021