What’s really going on with doctors pay in Queensland?

4 min | Medical Careers

For anyone with even a passing interest in how doctors get paid, all eyes are on Queensland at the moment.

The new government is well down the path of making sweeping reforms to senior doctors' contracts and while the ‘whats’ are becoming clearer the ‘whys’ remain a little on the fuzzy side.

This is probably not entirely accidental, and in the absence of a clearly stated motive by the government to initiate such a review, it can be safely assumed that it’s largely about money and control - a desire to spend less of the former, and gain more of the latter.

It will be hard to reach an outcome that is a win-win for both parties and the doctors know it, so it is no great surprise that their representative groups have been so vociferous in their protestations.

Some may be intrigued, though, by the level of interest around the rest of Australia, and even in New Zealand.

Of course, it should not be a surprise - history tells us that remuneration trends in one state can have a swift knock on effect in other jurisdictions.

Either way, it is a ballsy move by the Springborg health department to recommend such dramatic changes to the contract. Doctors are not a group to sit back and suck it up if they feel that they are being stuffed around.

Assuming the new contracts go ahead, which seems inevitable, one of two things are likely to happen. Either the other states will view this as a pilot project and, if seen to be a success, will attempt to follow suit. Alternatively, they will see it as a great opportunity to lure away talent to their own understaffed hospitals.

Springborg will, no doubt, be praying for option one, but given the scarcity and value of specialist doctors in the country, and around the world, it seems like a risky gamble.

Dr John Bethell

Director, Wavelength International

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