St George Hospital's intensive care unit has been told it cannot train junior doctors after apparent reports of 'bullying' within the unit.
Hospital management was informed that the latest visit by the College of Intensive Care Medicine of Australia and New Zealand resulted in the unit not having its teaching accreditation renewed.
St George Hospital is a principal teaching hospital of the University of NSW. It is the largest hospital within the local health district and among the leading centre for trauma and emergency management in the state.
Training towards the Fellowship of the College must be undertaken in hospitals accredited for training. Inspections occur every five years, unless the Hospital Accreditation Committee or Board deem it necessary to conduct an inspection in the interim.
Hospital general manager Leisa Rathborne confirms accreditation has not been renewed due to "cultural issues" within the unit.
She says it is business as usual for patients.
"Teaching accreditation is a process that determines the ability of a hospital to provide a suitable training experience for a medical specialist trainee," she said.
"The ICU remains fully operational and appropriately staffed.
"Patients at St George Hospital will continue to receive the highest quality care in the Hospital's ICU."
The unit's multi-disciplinary team include medical staff specialists, postgraduate fellow, advanced trainees, junior medical staff and nursing staff.
Nine reports that accreditation loss was a "last resort" and may now lead to a reduction in staff, and health minister Brad Hazzard stated that the result was "disturbing".
On its website, the hospital's intensive care unit states that to ensure optimum functioning of the team and effective patient outcomes, it encourages "respect and treatment between team members, best use of the skill mix within the team, good communication on all levels and agreed systems and protocols for interaction between team members."
But a recent survey into staff well-being revealed only 37 per cent of responders in the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District felt there was a culture that that dealt effectively with discrimination, bullying and sexual harrassment.
This was lower than the state's overall response rate of 43 per cent.
Results were published as part of the Your Training and Wellbeing Matters Junior Medical Officers (JMO) Survey, undertaken from October-November 2018.
An initiative of NSW Health, it provides junior medical officers an opportunity to give confidential feedback on their experiences in the workplace and training strengths, concerns and challenges.
State-wide, 63 per cent of responders (accredited trainees in intensive care) felt they were treated fairly and with respect, regardless of their position.
Resonders also stated that senior doctors were those who were most responsible as the source of bullying.
Ms Rathborne says St George Hospital management will continue to work with the ICU staff and the college to resolve the matter to restore teaching accreditation as soon as possible. An external review into the claims is expected in coming weeks.