Royal Australasian College of Physicians to keep teaching downgrade at LGH in place

A downgrade to Launceston General Hospital teaching accreditation, which doctors say has impacted recruitment, will stay in place.

The Tasmanian Health Service appealed a Royal Australasian College of Physicians decision to downgrade adult internal medicine training from level three to level two.

A RACP spokesman on Wednesday confirmed to Fairfax Media that the college’s reconsideration was complete and the “RACP decision is unchanged”. 

The college’s decision to downgrade the adult internal medicine three accreditation three months ago meant registrars in the discipline stay at the LGH for two years, rather than completing a three-year module, as they previously had done.

This means trainee doctors need to move to a different, level three, teaching hospital to complete their training. 

A THS spokesman earlier this year claimed the downgrade decision was based on “incorrect information”.

There are other avenues the THS is able to pursue to appeal the downgrade. 

The spokesman said the health service was requesting the college review its decision, and the process is under way. 

LGH Medical Staff Association chairman Scott Parkes in January said the college felt the hospital did not have sufficient staffing in some disciplines for training, particularly endocrinology. 

The training was for physicians who were procedural and non-procedural specialists in general medicine and some specialties.

The LGH is accredited by a number of colleges in a wide range of different disciplines. 

Dr Parkes last week told Fairfax Media that the downgrade had impacted the LGH. 

"It means that we are at the moment, fairly heavily dependent on locums, and I think we've had reputational damage because of this, so it does impact on the number of people who want to come here and want to stay here," Dr Parkes said. 

He said the hospital’s teaching status was “fundamental to delivering the best patient care we can". 

Australian Medical Association Tasmania president Stuart Day said the downgrade should be heeded as a warning.  

“It's meant that their ability to recruit training physicians has actually been severely hampered this year,” Dr Day said.