Tired doctors put patients in danger

Millmerran Doctor Andrew Reedy was made to work an incredible 168 days straight because of a doctor shortage in the area.
Millmerran Doctor Andrew Reedy was made to work an incredible 168 days straight because of a doctor shortage in the area.

MILLMERRAN doctor Andrew Reedy poured fuel on a heated debate about fair working conditions for Queensland doctors after it was revealed he was made to work 168 days straight.

Dr Reedy performed the marathon stint between October 2005 and March 2006.

He was on call, which meant he could never be more than 15 minutes away from the town's hospital in case of an emergency.

Dr Reedy is the only doctor in the town - an arrangement that has angered doctor groups across the state.

President-Elect of the Rural Doctors Association of Queensland Dr Dan Halliday said he was “disturbed” to hear Dr Reedy was made to work 168 days straight.

“This is dangerous to the health of the doctor involved, not just the safety of the community,” he said.

“It is inexcusable that Queensland Health managers allowed this to happen. RDAQ was founded 20 years ago to fight these problems. We thought the culture in Queensland Health was changing, but perhaps we are wrong.”

Dr Halliday said there should be a minimum of two doctors on staff for every hospital in Queensland.

Salaried Doctors Queensland industrial relations adviser Susannah McAuliffe said reducing incidences of dangerously-fatigued doctors was the core issue in the latest enterprise bargaining agreement.

Ms McAuliffe said a report released in January showed Queensland had the highest level of medical errors of any state.

“(We are now) seeking shifts that are limited to 12 hours, continuous 10-hour rest breaks between shifts, and a transparent mechanism to ensure that these rules are not broken by hospital administrators,” she said.

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Queensland doctors dangerously tired

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