THE Royal Australian College of Physicians has rejected an appeal to delay stripping Maitland Hospital of its training accreditation for junior doctors, citing concerns about inadequate supervision.
Seven registrars will be relocated to alternate positions within Hunter New England Health this week after the college officially withdrew its "basic training in adult medicine" accreditation from Maitland Hospital.
Hunter New England Health appealed to the medical college to defer the decision until concerns raised about underpayment, excessive workload, and the lack of supervision at the hospital could be addressed. But a spokesperson for the college (RACP) said the welfare of its trainees, and the quality of their training, was at the forefront of the decision.
"We have reviewed Maitland Hospital's application for reconsideration, however, the hospital's plan did not address the issues regarding necessary supervision of trainee physicians," he said.
"We understand this may cause staffing challenges for Maitland Hospital over the Christmas and New Year period, however our priority is the safety of our trainees and the quality of their training to ensure the best outcomes for both trainees and their patients."
He said all trainees needed and deserved supervision and training in a safe environment, to the standards required for specialist training.
The initial decision to withdraw accreditation came after the Royal Australasian College of Physicians' (RACP) accreditation committee reviewed "a number of reported issues" relating to training and trainee wellbeing.
Maitland Hospital would still be accredited for basic training in paediatrics and child health, and advanced training specialties.
Hunter New England Health chief executive Michael DiRienzo said there would be no impact on patient care or safety.
"We have now been advised our application for extension was unsuccessful and accreditation for basic physician trainees would subsequently be removed on Monday, November 30," he said.
"Our priority has been to ensure Maitland Hospital has adequate medical staffing to continue to provide safe, high quality patient care," he said. "A roster of suitably trained, senior doctors is in place to ensure patients will continue to receive high quality care at the hospital.
"We will now undertake a comprehensive review of the governance and management of medical services at Maitland Hospital to address the concerns raised by the college. We intend to re-establish a training program again as soon as possible."
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