Vic junior doctors launch new class action

·1-min read

Two more Victorian health services have been hit with a class action alleging systematic and widespread underpayment of junior doctors.

The latest class action against Monash Health and the Latrobe Regional Health Service follows a similar claim launched in March against Peninsula Health.

More than 100 junior doctors working across Monash and Latrobe are part of the second class action lodged in the Federal Court on Monday.

About 10,500 junior doctors claim they are entitled to be paid for overtime worked over the last six years, lawyers say.

Australian Salaried Medical Officers' Federation president Roderick McRae said most junior doctors chose not to record their unscheduled overtime.

"They are fearful it will negatively affect their career prospects, while others who have tried to claim unpaid hours have had their claims refused and advancement impeded," he said.

"The system is broken and the people who run it are often threatening and demeaning."

One of the doctors involved in the class actions, Karla Villafana-Soto, said nearly 10 per cent of junior doctors working in the state sector had registered for the class actions.

The legal action seeks the recovery of wages, and penalties against the three health services for breaches of enterprise agreements and the Fair Work Act. It's being led by Gordon Legal, and Hayden Stephens and Associates.

A 2020 "hospital health" survey by the Australian Medical Association revealed Victoria's junior doctors were working, on average, 16 hours of overtime a week.

Some worked up to an extra 25 hours a week. About 60 per cent admitted making a clinical error due to their excessive workloads, and exhaustion and stress.