Doctors win another concession

INDIVIDUAL doctor contracts will be merged with the contract addendum in another government backdown to resolve issues causing friction among the state's doctors.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said weeks of face-to-face meetings between the government and representative groups, together with online feedback, led to the contracts being re-issued statewide.

Mr Springborg said last week he believed the issues were resolved after an amendment pushed through parliament removed the Health Department Director-General's unfettered powers to alter contracts.

But doctors' legal advice suggested the addendum be rolled into the contract document itself.

The latest compromise to do so comes as unions threaten to act on more than 1200 resignation letters.

"Our goal is to ensure that SMOs and VMOs who lead the clinical delivery of our public health service understand and have full confidence in the contracts that take effect from July 7," Mr Springborg said.

"These changes remove the remaining doubts.

"These individual contracts will provide a simplified and flexible work environment while key concerns raised recently by the Auditor General are addressed."

Mr Springborg said the government had also agreed to delete the term "profitability" from the contract.

He said he was confident doctors would have sufficient time to sign and submit their contract by April 30.

Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton told 4BC it was a significant offer.

But he said doctors' lawyers would need to look at the new contracts and it would be tight to meet the April 30 deadline.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said the latest compromise was an "humiliating backdown" that could have happened almost six months ago.

"The Springborg-created crisis has dragged on for no reason other than the desire of the government to impose WorkChoices-style employment contracts on doctors," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"After declaring the contracts 'not negotiable' in January the minister has created a jumble of dodgy caveats in an addendum that he has now decided to include in the body of the contract itself.''


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