CANBERRA'S most powerful group of orthopaedic surgeons has been broken up following a legal dispute.
Nine of 11 surgeons have left Canberra Orthopaedic Group even though their contracts were not due to expire until June 2015.
Since March seven of these departing surgeons have been in the midst of a contract dispute with the owner of the company, Ortho Group Limited.
At times, specialists at Canberra Orthopaedic Group have accounted for more than half the orthopaedic surgeons in the ACT.
Sources said OGL's financial performance had been lacklustre. Other sources said OGL demanded the departing surgeons each pay a fee to leave their contracts. It is not known whether any of this money was paid.
There are unconfirmed claims that these fees amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars for each practitioner.
OGL chairman Jayne Shaw said Canberra Orthopaedic Group would continue at the existing location on the grounds of John James Healthcare Campus in Deakin.
The two surgeons staying with OGL are doctors Kevin Woods and Maurizio Damiani, who said it would be business as usual for them.
All the departing surgeons were expected to stay in Canberra.
Lawyer John Kain, who represents the seven surgeons, confirmed at least six of the specialists had already set up new practices in Canberra, although they would not all go into business together.
Doctors Damian Smith, Phil Aubin, Alexander Burns, Chris Roberts and Paul Smith - the latter a director of orthopaedics in the public system at at the Canberra Hospital - have started a private practice called Orthopaedics ACT in Moore Street, Turner.
Dr Brendan Klar will run a practice from the Equinox centre in Kent Street, Deakin.
It is not known where Dr Rob Creer is moving to.
Doctors Nicholas Tsai and Gawel Kulisiewicz, who worked at Canberra Orthopaedic Group but were not part of OGL, are also leaving.
It is believed they were not part of the legal dispute.
It is not known where they are moving to.