MEDIA RELEASE: Doctors reach in-principle agreement on contracts

15.04.2014

15 April, 2014: Negotiations between doctors and the Government have resulted in an in-principle agreement on the current contracts issue that the state’s doctors will have the opportunity to vote on in the coming weeks.

The State Government returned to the negotiating table late last week, finally agreeing to amendments that will guarantee patient safety is not compromised in order to meet bureaucratic needs.

Keep Our Doctors spokesperson and President of the Australian Salaried Medical Officers’ Federation Dr Tony Sara said the in-principle agreement does not mean that doctors are willing to sign the contracts just yet and warned that there are still key elements that the Government needs to address before the contracts will be put to doctors.

“The fact that the Government has come back to the negotiating table in order to reach a resolution that meets the needs of Queenslanders is very welcomed,” Dr Sara said.

“We are now in a position where we expect to have a contract that can put to the state’s doctors to vote on very shortly.

“Ultimately it’s up to the state’s doctors to decide whether they are confident the contracts put the needs of patients ahead of the needs of bureaucrats.

“Doctors have made it very clear throughout this process that we will never sign up to a contract that puts our patients at risk.

“The support doctors have received from the community throughout this process has been overwhelming.

Dr Sara said the in-principle agreement means that doctors will not be forced to resign from the public health system at this stage.

“There are still a small number of key matters that remain to be resolved. Our expectation is that these matters will be rectified prior to the mass meeting of doctors on Wednesday.”

 

It’s positive, but not over yet…

09.04.2014

You may have seen an email from the Director-General this morning about the upcoming negotiations.

Unfortunately the email contained some misleading information.

As you will have read in the email sent by Keep Our Doctors last night, it is true that together doctors have finally forced the Government back to the negotiating table. This is a very positive sign and our negotiating team will be working hard over the coming days to achieve an outcome that puts your needs and the needs of your patients first.

Thanks to your dedication, and the dedication of your colleagues, we are in a good position.

But things aren’t as rosy as the Director-General would have you believe.

While things are moving in the right direction, there is still a long way to go in negotiations. The contracts still contain a number of areas of serious concern that mean that, as previously, they are unsafe.

For example – while the word ‘profitability’ has been removed, the contracts still allow for a doctor’s clinical autonomy to be limited by management.

And this is just one example. We are very hopeful that over the coming days these issues will be ironed out in discussions with the Government. But they haven’t been ironed out yet. The contracts as they stand are still unsatisfactory and cannot be recommended.

Nothing is not more important than a patient’s life and a patient’s right to the best possible treatment. We are very hopeful that we can negotiate a contract with the Government that recognises that.

Congratulations on getting the Government to this point. We are in a very good position.

The people of Queensland are counting on doctors to stay strong and work with the Government to deliver a contract that puts the needs of patients first. The public are backing you all the way.

Stay tuned – we’ll keep you updated on information as it comes to hand.

The Keep Our Doctors team

PS – A reminder that the Pineapple mass meeting has been postponed to allow for the negotiations with government to take place. The meeting will now take place next week, Wednesday 16 April.

MEDIA RELEASE: Doctors cautiously optimistic as Government returns to negotiations

09.04.2014

Doctors representatives will meet with the State Government over the coming days in an attempt to reach an agreement that puts the needs of Queenslanders first. 

The discussions come after the Director-General agreed to make changes to the contracts and come back to the negotiating with doctors representatives in an attempt to put an end to the current dispute.

Keep Our Doctors spokesperson and Together Secretary, Alex Scott said the discussions are a positive step forward, however warned an agreement is still not guaranteed.

“Doctors have been calling on the State Government to sit down and discuss the contracts for many weeks now, so the fact that this is now occuring is a positive sign,” Mr Scott said.

“There are still a range of serious issues contained within the contracts that we are hoping the Government will address over the coming days. The timing is still a key concern for doctors – we’ve seen what can happen when a Government rushes the implementation of things like this.

“Until we see a contract that guarantees doctors and patients the protection they deserve, doctors will not be signing it.

“The future of the Queensland public health system is reliant on the State Government negotiating a fair outcome with doctors.

“Doctors will not sign up to a contract that puts patients at risk. Until we have a chance to sit down and go through all the detail with the Government to guarantee that’s the case, we won’t be able to reach a resolution.”

The mass ‘Pineapple’ meeting scheduled for this evening has been postponed to allow for negotiations to occur.

 

Pineapple postponed; your hard work got us here

08.04.2014

As you may have heard, the Director-General and the Minister promised changes to the contracts today.

The Director-General met with the Keep Our Doctors taskforce last night to inform us of the decision, while at the very same time the Health Minister was talking about it live on radio.

Congratulations. It’s because of your dedication to the people of Queensland that we’ve got to this point. This has only come about because doctors have stayed united as part of the Keep Our Doctors campaign.

But we can’t get too excited just yet. We haven’t seen the detail.

The Government told us they would send through updated documents today, and they just have. But we cannot rush this – our patients are relying on us to get this right.

We need to take the time to thoroughly go through the documents, get legal advice, and sit down with the Government to discuss the finer details. At first glance there still seems to be some areas that need further work.

For that reason the Pineapple meeting has been postponed by a week. The new date is Wednesday 16 April.

We have given the Government a week to sit down with us and discuss the details in order to get an offer that puts the needs of our patients ahead of the needs of bureaucrats. By next week we will be in a position to discuss the details of the negotiations with the Government and provide a well-informed view on the contracts.

We cannot rush this. Queensland’s health system is too important. We’ve seen what’s happened in the past when the Government has rushed things.

All we know right now is that the Minister and the Director-General have suggested that they will roll the amended addendum into the contract document; take the word ‘profitability’ out of the contract clauses; make the dispute resolution process clearer; and change the make-up of the ‘contracts advisory committee’.

The fact that there has been movement is a positive step, however we remain very cautiously optimistic.

The only thing that is clear at the moment is that your commitment to the campaign is working and that the people of Queensland are behind you.

We are hopeful we will be able to sit down with the Government over the coming days to discuss the detail and work out how we can reach an agreement that puts the needs of the people of Queensland first. 

We will keep you updated as soon as information comes to hand. Further details about the Pineapple meeting on 16 April will be circulated shortly.

Thank you.

The Keep Our Doctors campaign team

Doctors’ contracts update – 4 April

07.04.2014

The Government introduced the Health and Hospital Boards Amendment Bill 2014 on 1 April.

This piecemeal attempt to resolve the dispute, raises even more questions about how the contract, addendum, directives and ministerial directions will operate to give effect to the terms and conditions of your employment.

The only effective way to resolve this issue is to get back to the negotiating table and work through the options with the SMO taskforce. See the latest update on the contracts situation here.

Doctors dispute hurting Premier in his own backyard

01.04.2014

Queenslanders are overwhelmingly opposed to the State Government’s attempts to push local doctors onto individual contracts, with polling results released today showing that 62 per cent of voters in the Premier’s own seat of Ashgrove oppose the move.

The ReachTELL poll of four key seats found that Queenslanders also believe the Premier’s plan to bring in foreign doctors if current doctors are forced to leave the system would have a negative impact on the state’s public hospitals. In Ashgrove, 74 per cent of voters think the move to bring in foreign doctors would be detrimental.

Keep Our Doctors spokesperson Dr Rob Thomas said the results show just how out of touch the State Government is with the community.

“The State Government’s attempts to force doctors to sign onto unfair individual contracts will have a serious and lasting impact on the Queensland public health system,” Dr Thomas said.

“It beggars belief that the Government is insisting on pushing these contracts through despite the obvious impact this will have on the public health system.

“These figures show that voters are overwhelmingly opposed to the Government’s push to force doctors to sign up to the unfair individual contracts.

“It’s time the Health Minister and Premier listened to the community and stopped this attack on our public health system.

“This attack on our public health system is hurting the Premier in his own backyard.

“Rather than trying to find a sensible solution to the problem, the Premier and Health Minister are actually daring doctors to leave to system. They says they’ll just bring in foreign doctors if our local doctors leave.

“It’s no doubt that the vast majority of Queenslanders aren’t happy with that approach – we’ve seen how that’s turned out in the past.

“The State Government has an opportunity to avert this health disaster by sitting down with doctors and negotiating an agreement that puts the needs of the community first.”

See the Mundingburra results

See the Ashgrove results

See the Ipswich West results

See the Cairns results

Keep Our Doctors – TV ads

24.03.2014

The Queensland Government is attempting to push the state’s doctors onto individual contracts that could force our most senior doctors out of the public health system.

Stand up for your public health system and our doctors by sharing the Keep Our Doctors TV ads on Facebook.

Keep Our Doctors – 15 second TVC

Keep Our Doctors – 15 second TVC, part two

Contract Negotiations Update

21.03.2014

Over the past 24 hours, Senior Medical Officers (“SMOs”) and Visiting Medical Officers (“VMOs”) have been subject to extraordinary attacks by the Queensland Government. Under the cover of Parliamentary privilege, the Premier and the Minister for Health have attacked SMO and VMO representatives, including Professor John Fraser personally, following SMOs and VMOs unanimously rejecting the Government’s offer to resolve the current dispute in respect of statutory individual contracts.

The record must be corrected.

Download the Fact Sheet – SMO VMO Contract Negotiations Update