‘Crumb’ buys time in doctor dispute

NAMBOUR public doctors have been given a "crumb" in the contracts dispute and won't have to resign by the end of the month to safeguard their entitlements.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg agreed to change the notice period for resignation from three months to two months early yesterday, four days before the official March 31 deadline.

Dr Heidi Webster, the Sunshine Coast's only developmental and behavioural physician, had prepared her letter of resignation effective today to ensure her 23 weeks of long service leave after 15 years of service.

She said the last-minute change gave her a "breather".

"I put in my mass resignation form, with another whole bunch of doctors, but it hasn't been submitted," she said.

"It will be held, the letter (Mr Springborg's) gives us till April 30. It has bought us a bit of time.

"It shows there is a possibility of renegotiating and takes away the urgency."

Nambour anaesthetist Dr Alan Millard said the government had "thrown a crumb" with the extension, but the main areas of concern had not been addressed.

"The contracts still mean we will lose 30% of our income after April," he said.

"We will still be without a job and patient care will be compromised."

He dismissed Mr Springborg's suggestions in other media the campaign was being led by "militant unionists".

"At the Pineapple meeting there were 1800 doctors," he said.

"The union part of any of this has been horribly and dramatically overclaimed."

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