COVID-19 Government indemnity scheme and vaccines information
A fund that lets you choose your provider, the level of cover that suits you, and supports the medical community as a whole.
At Avant we recognise that your practice entity has separate risks and exposures.
Conflicts and disputes in the workplace can have a significant impact on your professional and personal lives.
Workplace disputes can take
many forms. It may be that you are not getting on with your supervisor. You
may be in a dispute about the terms of your engagement, such as your
working hours. You may be facing performance management or the suspension
of your employment for alleged misconduct. Regardless of the cause of the
conflict, it can make it difficult to concentrate at work and inevitably
results in you bringing your anxieties about work home with you. This can
lead to sleepless nights and increasing anxiety, and can have a
significant impact on patient care.
In recent years, Avant has
seen an increase in claims involving workplace disputes which means that
more of our members are finding themselves involved in employment
disputes and in need of advice and assistance.
Some of the common
situations leading to workplace disputes are confusion about the terms
and conditions of the engagement; disputes over pay; disputes over the
doctor running behind time; disputes over the expectation on the doctor
to work the after hours shifts and to do the ‘on call’ roster on a
perceived unequal basis; issues concerning clinical supervision;
dissatisfaction with the level of mentoring; disputes over whether a
lawful and reasonable direction has been given; and disputes over
allocation of annual leave and sick leave.
It’s best to try to resolve
disputes early and as informally as possible, however sometimes a more formal
dispute resolution process needs to be followed. If there is a dispute
resolution process in your Award, Enterprise Agreement or Contract, this
process should be followed.
Dispute resolution mechanisms are called
by a number of names, including “grievance procedure” or “complaint
In general, private and public hospitals have dispute
resolution mechanisms in a doctor’s:
Doctors should familiarise themselves with the
dispute resolution mechanisms.
Dispute resolution mechanisms generally
contain a number of different procedures that a doctor may opt to use, for
Doctors may wish
to seek advice about the best way to resolve a particular dispute.
There are a range of people that doctors can seek advice from
The procedures often explain
what doctors should not do. For example, many procedures say:
Doctors may wish to seek advice from many places for the best way to resolve a dispute:
employer’s Employee Assistance Program
Avant Medico-legal Advisory
Doctors' Health Advisory
Services around the country
The AMA in
your state or territory
Your organisation’s human
In the hospital context, in Avant’s experience,
alleged breaches of a hospital’s code of conduct are a common cause of
For example, a hospital may allege that a
doctor has failed to comply with infection control measures and has
spoken inappropriately to a nurse who questions the doctor about
Avant’s claims experience shows that poor communication,
not competence, is a significant factor in many employment
Abiding by an organisation’s Code of Conduct is a
contractual obligation for employees and contractors. Penalties for
breaches of a Code of Conduct can include a reprimand, suspension of
clinical privileges or even termination of employment.
of Conduct breaches handled by Avant have involved alleged ‘poor
clinical care’, ‘negative work environment’, ‘inadequate availability’
and ‘fitness to practice’.
Examples of alleged ‘poor clinical care’
have included leaving patients unattended, poor patient monitoring,
and maintaining inadequate medical records. ‘Negative work
environment’ allegations have included being uncooperative or
argumentative. Allegations of bullying or intimidation of staff have
also increased markedly over the past 5 years. Matters concerning inadequate
availability included being absent without adequate cover, and being difficult
to contact. Alleged ‘fitness to practise’ breaches included working
while ill or fatigued.
Factsheet - What do when requested to attend an employment meeting
Video - Meeting with hospital administration
Maintaining good relationships with the medical
team and ensuring clear communication between health professionals is
vital to reducing your risk of a breach (perceived or otherwise) of a Code of
Conduct. Clear communication includes:
Fitness to practise