Update for Doctors

Posted on April 24, 2015

We have now had our initial two meetings of the Queensland Health “Contracts Advisory Committee” which I attended as the Regional Doctors representative but as you know I never really take my Together delegate hat off. The Acting Director-General has confirmed that the policy position of government with respect of individual contracts for doctors has changed. He committed that the Department of Health will take a consultative and considered approach to review the existing employment framework to ensure the delivery of a fair and equitable employment framework for senior doctors that is aligned to the government’s policy agenda

The Department also committed to ensuring that the contracts operate effectively whilst they remain in place. We have had discussions and progressed our arguments in relation to a range of contract implementation issues, seeking urgent solutions.

As Together Vice President (Public Health) I have also met with the Health Minister’s office to brief his staff on our proposal for restoration of your industrial rights and the implementation of the governments election commitments to Together medical officers.

As you all know we wrote as a union to the Health Minister to insist that the unfair contracts be reversed and we have proposed that this happen by issuing a new Health Employment Directive restoring our rights while we wait for legislative change to allow us all to negotiate for a new "MOCA” agreement as a group, along with the junior doctors. We have put this as a joint position with ASMOFQ. (See our proposal here).

This meeting with the Minister’s office was productive and the Minister’s staff listened to our concerns and seemed to really understand the damage done to the relationship between the department, the government and doctors by the contract process and the ongoing challenges in recruiting doctors to Queensland. We also discussed the impacts of the outstanding issues with the contracts on us and our patients. The Minister’s staff conveyed the Minister's interest in resolving these matters and a commitment to negotiating our industrial conditions with us as a union. It was also indicated that negotiations should also commence shortly for junior doctors.

Together is currently seeking to settle negotiations for Health Practitioners for improved conditions, including a return of conditions stripped from them by the former government, using a Health Employment Directive, negotiated with members. This mechanism is likely to be the proposed solution for doctors as well with a return to a certified industrial instrument once the legislation has been amended to allow it.

The next step is to meet formally with the Minister to confirm his plan for the urgent amendment of rights through the contract framework, a restoration of our collective bargaining processes and reiteration of the government’s commitment to legislative change. We are trying to arrange a meeting as soon as possible.

Finally, I know that the implementation of electronic medical records in a number of hospitals around the State has caused significant concerns for doctors in relation to the way we do our work and the safety of patients. This is something we are also seeking action on.

Let me know know what is happening at your facility and what your concerns are by emailing Health@together.org.au or calling Dan Goldman in our union office on 1800 177 244.

We need to restore our working conditions and repair Queensland’s currently terrible reputation as an employer of doctors. We hope to have more information for you shortly.

1800 177 244