A training accreditation downgrade at the Launceston General Hospital will render it a "pretty unattractive" destination for trainees, says LGH Medical Staff Association chairman Dr Scott Parkes.
The hospital's accreditation for adult internal medicine training was downgraded from a level three to a level two by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, sparking concerns that recruitment difficulties will now be worsened.
Dr Parkes said this would lessen the hospital's chances of attracting trainees, who will now train at the LGH for two years, rather than completing a three-year module.
"Our registrars are the ... heart-and-soul of the hospital," Dr Parkes said.
The Tasmanian Health Service is appealing the decision “on the basis that it was based on incorrect information,” a THS spokesman said.
He said the “decision by the college’s accreditors does not impact patient care or safety at the LGH, and relates only to the training of physicians”.
“The THS is confident its appeal will be upheld and this decision will be overturned,” the spokesman said.
Dr Parkes said the decision was the result of the college’s belief that the hospital was not equipped to provide both clinical care and adequate teaching training.
The training was for physicians who were procedural and non-procedural specialists in general medicine and some specialties, Dr Parkes said.
He said the downgrade would lead to retention issues, decreased registrars and an increased reliance on expensive locums.
"It's far from ideal because you're getting an itinerant workforce that really don't have the commitment to the hospital and the community," he said.
Dr Parkes said the college felt the hospital did not have sufficient staffing in some disciplines for training, particularly endocrinology.
Health Minister Michael Ferguson in December told Fairfax Tasmania an endocrinologist was being recruited for Launceston.
Dr Parkes said the downgrade occurred after the RACP visited the hospital in December.
Mr Ferguson said there was no link between the training accreditation downgrade and the high-profile spate of departures from the emergency department in mid-2016. The LGH emergency department retained its training accreditation from the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine.