Doctors caught short by quick shift to 'contemporary' pay
Thousands of Queensland doctors have been angered by changes in their employment conditions, after doctors at public hospitals were moved to individual contracts rather than collective bargaining.
A stoush is brewing between doctors’ representatives and the Queensland Government after its decision to move more than 3,000 senior doctors to individual contracts.
“I have not seen such anger, frustration, or such a united response to anything any government has put in place,” said Queensland president of the Australian Salaried Medical Officers Federation Dr Nick Buckmaster, which is in talks to try and undo the changes before the tight implementation deadline expires.
“We are negotiating with the representatives of the Government to try and repair what has been a disastrous attempt to change our terms and conditions,” he said.
Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg says: “What we have done is moving our senior employees in the health workforce - those on over $129,000 - onto a contract arrangement.”
“Indeed we have in Queensland people who are in receipt of entitlements, base pay entitlements including on call and recall, up to $800,000 or $900,000 a year on award type arrangements... now we believe that that is not contemporary.”
“Queensland Health continues to commit, and the Newman Government, enormous amounts of money to healthcare in this state - just short of 30 per cent of the budget. That will continue to grow. It needs to grow sustainably, and we've got to have the best industrial framework, productivity focussed, to actually do that,” Mr Springborg said.
Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton says it degrades the few liberties that some doctors have.
“They strip away key employment rights and undermine the progress that Queensland's really made in growing its public sector medical workforce, things like fatigue provisions, rest breaks, limits on hours, access to unfair dismissal, dispute resolution, grievance procedures,” Mr Hambleton said.
The Queensland Government has put a deadline in April for doctors to sign on to the new contracts, but their representative body says it will fight for changes up until that point.