Auditor-general to investigate hospital harassment complaints

A surgeon from The Alfred hospital in Melbourne resigns following multiple allegations of sexual harassment.

In a statement, Alfred Health chief executive Associate Professor Andrew Way said the issues that were recently brought forward by a former staff member were “highly concerning”.

Fairfax newspapers reported the serious complaints were brought against the unnamed surgeon by seven junior surgeons and other medical staff last year.

Associate Professor Way said the hospital did not tolerate “inappropriate workplace behaviour”.

“This type of behaviour amongst any group of staff is totally unacceptable and [the] best course of action is immediately reporting [it],” he said.

“As soon as staff raised issues about a surgeon who worked at The Alfred, we undertook two separate investigations into their concerns and took appropriate action.”

Associate Professor Way said the hospital had a “robust complaint and surgical audit system”.

“Though clearly more work needs to be done to encourage staff in some parts of the organisation to feel confident to raise complaints so issues can be investigated,” he said.

Associate Professor Way said the hospital was doing that by talking about concerning behaviour and taking action “we genuinely build a culture of care and safety for colleagues and patients”.

There were also concerns raised about the doctor’s surgical decision-making which had not been upheld.

A spokesman for the hospital said the surgeon resigned due to ill health.