Win for Junior Doctors - Unrostered Overtime


After months of negotiations, the Ministry has adopted many of the changes sought by the Alliance in relation to unrostered overtime ( UROT) in the Employment Arrangements for Medical Officers in the NSW Public Health Service Policy Directive (the Policy).

Although long overdue, the changes to the Policy will make it much easier to claim unrostered overtime as there are now 5 additional categories where junior doctors do not need prior approval from their supervisor to work unrostered overtime.

What have we won?

Prior approval to work unrostered overtime is now not required for:

  • completion of outstanding patient transfer and discharge summaries
  • late ward rounds
  • mandatory training
  • clinical handover
  • hospital-based outpatient clinics

Our Alliance members told us through our Hospital Health Check surveys that it was simply too hard to claim unrostered overtime. Junior doctors have also told us that they’ve felt pressure on them not to claim and that there is a stigma that they are not pulling their weight if they do claim.

We know that some hospitals discriminate against DITs who claim overtime and that some supervisors just refuse outright to approve it”, co-chair of the Alliance, Dr James Lawler said.

Dr Sanjay Hettige, co-chair of the Alliance, said:

“Previously, all of the above categories required prior approval to work the unrostered overtime before it was undertaken. These changes represent a real breakthrough on unrostered overtime”.

The Alliance knows the Policy changes are just the beginning. We need to make sure our members are aware of the changes and build their confidence that they should be claiming UROT. Our next step will be to regularly review the implementation of the Policy to ensure medical officers are aware of it and are claiming UROT.

Dr Tony Sara, President of ASMOF said:

“This is a genuinely good result. I am now calling on my Staff Specialist colleagues to familiarise themselves with these changes and ensure that they are not only across them but also support the changes. We need to see some culture change around claiming overtime because it is only when we get the price signal of overtime that we can reduce it from the unacceptable and arduous levels that it is at in many work places. It is simply not acceptable to dissuade junior doctors from claiming unrostered overtime”.

Unpublished Policy