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25 Nov 2013

The Federal Council of the AMA has formally condemned the Queensland Government decision to move all Senior Medical Officers in its public hospital system on to unfair and unbalanced individual contracts from 1 July 2014.

The AMA Federal Council, which met in Canberra on the weekend, comprises senior members of the medical profession, with representatives from state AMAs across the country, specialty groups, doctors in training, medical students, and salaried medical officers.

The Council believes that the new arrangements would have a dramatic negative effect on medical workforce numbers and patient access to care in Queensland, and warned that the changes could force doctors to move interstate or into private practice.

The Council resolved unanimously to condemn the proposed changes as a retrograde step that will harm doctors and patients in the Queensland public hospital system.

Senior Medical Officers in Queensland are currently covered by an enterprise agreement with Queensland Health, and successive enterprise agreement negotiations in Queensland have focused on the attraction and retention of Senior Medical Officers.

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said today that the previous negotiation processes have helped to significantly lift the number of public hospital doctors in Queensland and have improved access to care for patients.

“The proposed new individual contracts will strip away key employment rights and undermine the progress Queensland has made in growing its public sector medical workforce,” Dr Hambleton said.

“These draconian contracts will remove key protections such as fatigue provisions and rest breaks, limits on hours, access to unfair dismissal, dispute resolution, and grievance procedures.

“Salaried doctors are currently being given two weeks to comment on proposed contracts, but crucial information regarding remuneration, hours of work, and rights of private practice is still to be provided.

“The whole medical profession across Australia is united in its opposition to these contracts.

“The Federal AMA urges the Queensland Government to abandon its proposed changes and work with AMA Queensland (AMAQ) and the Australian Salaried Medical Officers Federation (ASMOF) to reach employment arrangements that work best for the doctors, their patients, and the Queensland health system.

“Any loss of senior doctors from the public hospital system would limit patient access to medical care and make it harder to train the next generation of doctors entering the system to provide care for Queenslanders.”


25 November 2013


CONTACT:        John Flannery                     02 6270 5477 / 0419 494 761

                          Kirsty Waterford                02 6270 5464 / 0427 209 753 

Published: 25 Nov 2013