Emergency doctors from across the state held a crisis meeting on Tuesday night to discuss the impact of the State Government’s contracts and to look at the potential ramifications of large numbers of doctors being forced out of the system.
Keep Our Doctors spokesperson Dr David Spain said there is great concern among the state’s emergency doctors about the impact the State Government’s proposed contracts would have on patient care in emergency departments.
“We know that significant numbers of doctors will be forced to leave the public system if the State Government pushes ahead with its unfair individual contracts,” Dr David Spain said.
“All areas of the public health system will be impacted, but emergency departments will really take a battering. Without other specialists we will be unable to admit our patients for ongoing care.”
“Any Queenslander who has been to an emergency department on a weekend night knows just how busy they get and how important it is to have senior doctors on hand at all times.
“We really can’t afford to be losing emergency doctors from the system, but unfortunately it’s looking like a very real possibility at the moment.
Dr Christa Bell, also a Keep Our Doctors spokesperson, said that as well as the effects of losing emergency doctors, emergency departments will have the additional burden of patients affected by the breakdown of the public hospital system.
“Patients will be unable to access their usual specialists. In emergency we will be expected to find a way around this for desperate patients and their relatives. Our options will be limited,” Dr Bell said.
“The contracts would hit all doctors hard. Key issues around shift work and fatigue provisions are critical to patient safety.”
Dr Spain said the Government’s proposed contracts strip away unfair dismissal protections, meaning that doctors who speak out against their employer for the benefit of their patients could be dismissed at any time for any reason.
“Emergency doctors make life and death decisions everyday – there’s no time for second guessing. We need to be able to stand up for our patients without having to worry about whether it will cost us our jobs.
“We don’t want to leave, but emergency doctors simply cannot sign a contract that puts patient care at risk and robs them of basic workplace conditions.”
A number of resolutions were passed at the meeting including:
Senior Medical Officers from Emergency Departments in Queensland inform you they remain opposed to the current unfair individual contracts
Senior Medical officers from Emergency Departments in Queensland ask that the government listen and enter into meaningful negotiations with our representative organizations and SMO representatives to make needed changes of legislation and contract terms to urgently resolve matters