Better working conditions and entitlements provided by new contracts to 650 Visiting Medical Officers (VMOs) in Queensland Hospitals have been recognised in the final report of their industrial advocate, outlined in State Parliament today.
Health Minister Lawrence Springborg welcomed the findings of the VMO’s long-time industrial representative, Dr Ross Cartmill which had been subsequently endorsed by a committee of VMOs.
“This shows it is time for others privy to the lengthy process of contract negotiation to end the current campaign of misrepresentation,” Mr Springborg said.
Dr Cartmill reported significant advances in the new contracts, including a 2.2 per cent pay rise and a long list of other improvements, such as clinical support, allowances and professional development provisions.
“This is the independent report of a respected surgeon who has dedicated many years to advancing the cause of VMOs in State hospitals,” Mr Springborg said.
“It gives the lie to the current campaign of union misrepresentation calculated to drive up false public expectations of a crisis in Queensland Health.”
Dr Cartmill condemned previous administrative structures and their handling of the current agreement.
“I doubt there was any other group of employees in our country treated as badly as Queensland VMOs,” Dr Cartmill said.
“The change to employee contracts will prevent a repeat of such industrial impropriety.”
Dr Cartmill said the last three VMO agreements were achieved only after lengthy delays.
“The current agreement was signed three years late so that every VMO had no change in their terms and conditions for a four year period!” he said.
Dr Cartmill said the current VMO Employment Agreement would expire on July 6, to be replaced with perpetual contracts, reviewed with local Hospital and Health Services each year.
Referring to the current industrial campaign, he said: “My disappointment centres on criticism levelled at VMOs and my leadership simply because I have maintained my determination to professionally negotiate our new terms and condition,” he said.
“I have not responded publicly to the unfair and inappropriate criticisms.”
Mr Springborg said already the current AMAQ President, Dr Christian Rowan, had signed a VMO contract.
“This report is the third in a series through which VMOs have been informed of progress in talks on their behalf,” he said.
“I expect VMOs will respond to the independent advice they have received and bear it in mind when reviewing their personal contracts.”