On Wednesday 10 April, AMA Victoria and ASMOF Victoria junior doctors, supporters, and their representatives from Gordon Legal and Hayden Stephens and Associates were hosted at the Victorian Trades Hall Council to acknowledge the recent class-action victory against Peninsula Health, and urge the settlement of the remaining class actions.

The win is an important step toward stamping out the normalisation of unpaid overtime among junior doctors in the public health sector. Thank you to the doctors-in-training who joined in the action to push back against Peninsula’s failure to pay overtime that has been implicitly approved. Public hospitals in Victoria are now on notice that they have to pay overtime in cases where doctors are required to perform it, regardless of whether prior authorisation has been received.

AMA Victoria and ASMOF Victoria Presidents, Dr Jill Tomlinson and Dr Roderick McRae congratulated doctors in training, taking the opportunity to reflect on the fact that the victory not only addressed fair compensation for hours worked, but also tackled the root cause of unsafe work and burnout in the profession, and the chronic undervaluing of medical staff by hospital administrators.

The human cost of this undervaluing is darkly tangible. Dr Teak McPaddin (lead applicant against several health services) evoked the toll taken on junior doctors, whose workloads are driving them into such crises of mental health that many are leaving the profession mere years into their careers and others are suiciding due to the trauma. Along with these harms, the system remains designed to wring, as he put it, ‘every ounce of goodwill from a junior doctor.’

Actions remain underway at the following health services:

  • Alfred
  • Bairnsdale
  • Barwon
  • Bendigo
  • Eastern
  • La Trobe Regional
  • Monash
  • Northeast Wangaratta
  • Northern
  • Royal Melbourne
  • Royal Women’s
  • Western
  • St Vincent’s