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Doctors delay vote on unseen contracts

Doctors have again delayed a decision on government-drawn contracts until they see the final product.

Doctors have again delayed a decision on government-drawn contracts until they see the final product. Photo: Jim Rice

The state's senior medicos have so little trust in the government, doctors have refused to vote on whether they will even consider the new contracts, without seeing them first.

But while resignations have still not been ruled out, doctors at Wednesday's 'Pineapple Group' meeting did vote to take the threat of mass resignations off the table - for now.

But many questioned why they were still being asked to accept contracts which left them "worse off" than they were in November, when the government first stated its intentions to change doctors' employment conditions.

Lawyer Luke Forsyth, who formed part of the doctors' taskforce negotiating team, said he believed "this is as far as we can get it [the contracts], given the current government's ideologies in respect to this".

"I think this is one of these matters that will only change with a change of government," he told the meeting.

"Because it is fundamentally, ideological.

"[But] I think we have achieved significant gains in these contracts to make them as safe as they can be."

He despite the taskforce's best efforts, the government would not guarantee new SMOs would be employed on the same conditions as current specialists, a sticking point with many doctors in the room who were concerned about retaining their younger colleagues.

But Mr Forsyth said doctors were "playing a long game" and while they had "some wins" in the "first innings", "there was still work to do".

Doctors were urged to keep working together as a group, regardless of the outcome, with intensive care specialist and group facilitator John Fraser joking the LNP government had "done more for promoting union membership" than any group before it.

But while the taskforce said they believed the contracts were "worthy of being considered", the doctors in the room said they would not agree to anything until they physically held the new contracts.

Assistant health minister Chris Davis, who was one of those singled out and thanked by the meeting, said the next issue "was to establish trust". He said he believed the "prognosis" was "guarded but favourable".

"The reasons for the prognosis are all favourable, but will require ongoing work and also ongoing strong advocacy from all stakeholders," he said.

"These things as we know, don't just happen."

Dr Davis said the original contracts went "severely awry" because they had been based on "the fundamentally poor premise that empowering third parties to determine the relationship between patient and doctor was in the public interest".

"The patients clearly believed it wasn't, opinion polls showed it wasn't and doctors knew it wasn't to the point where many of you felt obliged to resign," he said.

"Thanks to the integrity and the skill and the commitment, particularly of the negotiators, we now have a framework that is far more likely to properly and reliably serve the interests of patients, the community and the health professionals."

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg, who offered to speak at the meeting, was not invited by organisers, in an effort to keep the focus on the contracts and not the politics behind them.

Once doctors have their contracts, the taskforce will ballot them on how to move forward.

The new signing date is May 31, with the contracts due to come into effect on August 4.

30 comments so far

  • Why have they not been given the Contracts to read yet? Would anyone expect them to agree to anything they had not read, even ignoring past events, would not the first step be to give them the contract to read? unless they were still hiding something?!?!

    Commenter
    Jamie Stacy
    Date and time
    April 16, 2014, 11:19PM
    • Yep - We 'promise' to change the contracts if you vote for them now. Then, when you are not looking we will sneak an extra clause into them without you having seen it and you will sign anyway then we have you. ha ha ha...
      Oh Newman, this is not just your average, everyday working-mans union, these guys are DOCTORS - THEY ARE SMARTER THAN YOUR HEALTH MINISTER.

      Commenter
      Scotty
      Date and time
      April 17, 2014, 6:30AM
    • Read it all, very carefully, multiple times. As for "this is as far as we can get it [the contracts], given the current government's ideologies in respect to this". When challenged before the election Newman specifically stated that he was not a right wing ideologue and that his government wouldn't act as such. Accordingly the LNP was not elected to enact their ideology. They were elected to represent the interests of the community not rule over it. What's feasible under the contracts should therefore also not be a matter of ideology. The guiding principle for what's achievable in these contracts should be fair value given to medical professionals for the incalculable value they provide to the citizens of this state. The government lost all moral authority to dictate other people's employment conditions when they took that 21% pay rise.

      Commenter
      davros
      Date and time
      April 17, 2014, 8:14AM
  • The doctors are right to hesitate before committing to their new contracts.

    Despite all the promises to govern with integrity, humility and honesty the Newman government has consistently shown it cannot be trusted.

    Commenter
    Ken of Brisbane
    Date and time
    April 17, 2014, 1:54AM
    • While the basic framework may be finalised from QHealth's point of view, the data about the doctors needs to be revalidated given the number of contracts with basic data errors in them. Doctors would be within their rights to refuse to sign anything with factual errors in them. The data purification should have happened 6 months ago with ongoing checking to make sure it was as close to perfect as possible. You need to remember that this is the same data that is going into the new payroll system that the Borg announced on ABC radio. Do it once and do it right. No more stuff ups.

      Commenter
      CrustyPete
      Date and time
      April 17, 2014, 6:42AM
      • This has been LNP CHAOS from day 1 Doctors read before signing leave nothing for granted.

        Commenter
        oldfella67
        Date and time
        April 17, 2014, 7:13AM
        • I disagree, they should just sign. Did they study to make people well or just to get good pay and a letters after their name. When I saw my specialist a few weeks ago he was so stressed over the contracts he forgot to give me any care at all! Petulant child!!

          Commenter
          Godfrey sales tricks
          Date and time
          April 17, 2014, 7:14AM
          • Godfrey, if our LNP government told you jumping off a cliff was good for your health, would you blindly do so?

            Commenter
            Jarrod Bilton
            Date and time
            April 17, 2014, 7:28AM
          • Would you sign a contract without even looking at it?

            Commenter
            wdawes
            Date and time
            April 17, 2014, 7:35AM
          • Would you sign an unseen contract? Especially one that had a profound effect on your life?

            As for your care, or alleged lack thereof, you have the right to make complaints through the appropriate channels.

            Commenter
            Mark
            Date and time
            April 17, 2014, 7:36AM

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