Is it a deal you can live with?

Posted April 8, 2014

Last night Director-General Ian Maynard met with the Taskforce at the same time as Minister Springborg was live on ABC radio.

They are promising a new set of documents today. We all want to see what they say and what they mean in practice.

The concerted campaign effort from all of you has moved them to this point. However, as always, we need to see what is being proposed in writing, seek advice and consider it together. We are not rushing to make comment on this, we must see the detail.

According to the DG at the Taskforce meeting last night today we will see documents that:

  1. Roll the "amended addendum" into the contract document
  2. Spell out more clearly the dispute resolution processes that are part of this (it is still unclear)
  3. Change the makeup of the "Contracts Advisory Committee" to being 9 people – an Independent Chair (what qualifications or how they will be appointed is to be confirmed), 4 Doctor representatives who will be elected by all SMOs and presumably VMOs to the committee (how was not spelt out), 3 LHHS Management representatives and 1 representative from the Department of Health.
  4. Take the word “profitability” out of the contract clauses (no mention of other words at this point such as “viability”)
  5. The Clinical Senate will provide advice and oversight on KPIs in contracts.

The Taskforce asked the DG specifically to take feedback back to say that doing this and then expecting a 30 April sign-on deadline to continue was too rushed and unfair.  We need time to talk through these changes and fix up the conflicts and holes in what may be drafted. You will all need time to consider whatever offer this is and get advice. Also, the majority of contracts appear to have errors, in many cases significant errors.

It is just not possible to get any contracts read, reviewed and signed by 30 April. Any suggestion that the date will not change is clear indication of bad faith.

The Taskforce also pointed to the options paper released with solutions, since these are the key things the Doctors have been saying from the start and the paper is a way to resolve this. Tinkering around the edges and rushing in without due care and consideration at this point will not afford the medical workforce the respect and time needed to make this work.

Failure to engage in good faith negotiations has resulted in the piecemeal and rapidly changing offers from Government to date. A resolution to this issue cannot be achieved without good faith negotiations with the SMO & VMO Taskforce.

Last night the DG made the point that some matters being suggested as reasonable solutions to solve this crisis aren’t possible due to Government “ideology”. That’s no reason to stop delivering a quality health system to Queenslanders.

The Government's ideology has resulted in an unprecedented attack on your rights and patients' rights. The clear message is: “profitability” being taken out is a step in the right direction but “viability and reputational risk” to the Health Service are not enough to trump patient care either.

And collective renegotiation of terms of the contract must be allowed to stop any of this nonsense happening again.

If real negotiations can now occur with this new intent from the Minister then everyone must be given time to duly consider the offer and seek advice.

This is a critical moment in our Keep our Doctors campaign.

The DG has promised to forward something in writing to our Taskforce today. This will then be reviewed by our lawyers so that advice can be provided tomorrow night and you can ask questions.

It is time to make some critical decisions about next steps.

Your unified efforts in opposing unfair contracts that put you and your patients at risk has brought the Government back to the table. Now we need to ensure that the conversation in the next week gets us to a point where your rights and your patients' rights are protected in to the future.

We’ll be in touch soon.