The ‘pineapple group’, a body of doctors who fought against the LNP doctor contracts, have claimed victory with Queensland Health staff voting to return to a collective agreement. Photo: Nicolas Walker
A cohort of public hospital junior and senior doctors which formed in the wake of the ‘doctor contract’ dispute with the former LNP government has claimed victory, voting to accept Labor’s pay offer.
The Palaszczuk government committed to scrapping the controversial Newman government individual contracts earlier this year, and in August it reached an agreement with unions on the details of the collectively bargained award.
It is understood that the new award, while including a 2.5 per cent pay rise each year for three years, better professional development for junior doctors and a motor vehicle allowance for necessary travel, will also give doctors protection from unfair dismissal and reinstate access to the industrial relations commission.
Health Minister Cameron Dick has told an AMA conference that Federal funding changes will cost Queensland 8000 doctors and nurses. Photo: Chris Hyde
Doctors will also be paid extra for work on public holidays or on call.
A vote was put to the 8751 doctors within the Queensland Health system, with almost all of the 2015 people who voted in the official EBA vote run by the Electoral Commission – 1898 – voting to scrap the LNP contracts and accept the government’s offer.
Opposition health spokesman Mark McArdle argued the return vote wasn’t high enough to speak for all Queensland Health doctors.
He said of the 2950 senior medical officers in Queensland Health – who were directly impacted by the Newman government contracts – 350 returned a response to the survey, with the bulk coming from junior doctors, who had not been required to sign the contracts.
“You can’t have only 350, or less than 12 per cent of the doctors on contracts, vote in this survey and claim that this is representative of senior medical officers across Queensland,” he said.
“The Palaszczuk Labor government needs to come clean with doctors instead of trying to spin the figures.”
One of the reasons the cohort of doctors, known as the “Pineapple group”, and its supporters said it fought so hard against the individual contracts was because of junior doctors coming through the ranks.
Health Minister Cameron Dick, who announced a $5 million junior research fellowship fund on Thursday night for junior doctors, said the return to the collective agreement was about restoring “fairness and equality for doctors in Queensland”.
“We undertook a thorough consultation process, working with doctors and their representatives to form this agreement,” he said.
“This is in stark contrast to the former LNP government’s bullying tactics, forcing doctors onto unfair contracts, which cut pay and conditions.
“I’m working with doctors, not against them, to ensure they are supported and to rebuild frontline service delivery.”