Doctor contract crisis close to resolution

THE doctor crisis is close to resolution after eight months of negotiation with State Cabinet and doctors' representatives signing off on the new performance-based contracts.

Australian Medical Association Queensland president-elect Dr Shaun Rudd said on Tuesday that he would be surprised if the "vast majority" of public sector doctors were not considering signing the new contracts.

The Hervey Bay doctor told ABC radio the "one-sideness" had dramatically changed after negotiations to make the Queensland Government understand doctors' concerns.

Dr Rudd said individuals still had to make the final decision but "we are in a position to believe they are reasonable".

"We are recommending … that these contracts are a much better contract than we initially started with," he said.

Federal AMA president Steve Hambleton said a possible resolution to the Queensland public hospital doctor contract crisis was now on the table.

"Based on last week's negotiations, the AMA and AMAQ are now of the 'in principle' view that a satisfactory resolution of our concerns with proposed contracts has now been reached," Dr Hambleton said.

"It is important to emphasise that this is still subject to the finalisation of relevant documentation, so that it faithfully reflects matters agreed on Friday."

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said a milestone had been reached after all doctor representatives signed letters of support for the individual contracts.

"These are life-time contracts designed to improve the performance of our health system," Mr Springborg said.

"They also help to simplify our remuneration framework, so that the lessons of the 2010 health payroll debacle are well learned."

Doctors now have until May 31 - an extra month - to sign up to the contracts, which will take effect on August 4.

The next "Pineapple" meeting of senior and visiting medical officers is planned for Wednesday night.



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