Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says regional Queensland communities will be hit hard if senior medical officers quit the public hospital system in the face of the Newman Government’s WorkChoices-style employment contracts.
“This is yet another example of the heavy-handed and arrogant approach of the Newman Government,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Health Minister Springborg should not be flying overseas this week. He should stay home and sort out this mess.
“Senior medical officers and visiting medical officers are essential to keep our public health system going, yet the LNP is recklessly risking forcing them out of the system with its heavy-handed individual employment contracts.
“SMOs and VMOs have said these contracts are unfair and unjust and many will prefer to leave the public hospital system rather than sign.
“That will have drastic impacts on patient care and safety as well as the calibre of future hospital staff given the role SMOs and VMOs play in training young medical professionals.
”It will also have more impact on regional communities because of the relative lack of alternative medical practitioners to fill vacant positions compared with Brisbane.
“It is further evidence of how the LNP doesn’t care about regional Queensland.”
Ms Palaszczuk said it had been the doctors themselves who had made the comparison with the former Howard Government’s unfair WorkChoices employment contracts.
“The contracts being forced on SMOs and VMOs enable their work conditions to be varied at the stroke of a pen after they sign,” she said.
“Doctors can have their work hours and wages varied after they sign a contract and the government can also change the key performance indicators they must meet.
“The LNP contracts also remove their access to the independent industrial umpire, the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission, and give the government the right to unilaterally sack SMOs.”
OFFICE OF THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
TUESDAY 28 JANUARY 2014