We plan to determine whether responsible agencies meet their obligations to support the mental health and wellbeing of employees in Victorian public hospitals.
Why this is important
The Department of Health (DH) and Victorian public health services implement policies and initiatives to support the mental health and wellbeing of employees working in Victorian public hospitals. Safer Care Victoria, part of DH, and WorkSafe Victoria (WorkSafe) also promote and provide guidance on supporting healthcare worker wellbeing.
Despite these actions, evidence suggests that clinical staff are working in unsafe environments. A 2020 literature review by the Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research in partnership with WorkSafe noted that:
- In Australia, 33% of nurses/midwives worked more than 40 hours a week and more than 50% of doctors worked long hours, with up to 10% working average of 78 hours a week.
- Australian nurses/midwives experienced medium levels of mental and emotional fatigue across all specialty areas; up to 20% reported high levels of burnout.
In 2020–21, the Australian Medical Association (Victoria) found that 33 per cent of doctors in training rated employer support for their mental health and wellbeing as poor.
What we plan to examine
In this reasonable assurance performance audit, we will examine whether DH and selected Victorian public health services effectively support the mental health and wellbeing of employees in Victorian public hospitals.
We propose to scope Austin Health, Barwon Health, Central Gippsland Heath, DH and WorkSafe into this engagement.