A peak medical body says improvements to Queensland emergency departments could be at risk from a dispute over senior doctor contracts.

Everything the Queensland government has done to improve emergency care could be undone through its dispute with senior doctors over contracts, a peak medical body says.

Senior doctors and unions have been battling with the Queensland government over proposed contracts they argue will strip away employment protection, and have the potential to compromise patient care.

The Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM), a not-for-profit training and advocacy group for emergency medicine in Australia and New Zealand, says it is “deeply concerned” about the dispute.

The group says the government has taken key steps in recent years to improve emergency care, including increasing the number of emergency departments and making a concerted effort to attract and retain senior clinicians.

“However, the current dispute related to senior medical officers’ contracts has the potential to wind back these improvements and put the provision of quality emergency care in Queensland at risk,” ACEM said in a statement on Friday.

The group said it had previously chosen to monitor the industrial dispute from the sidelines.

“ACEM feels obliged, however, to restate the imperative of maintaining the provision of quality emergency care to the community,” the group said.

Both parties needed to work together to ensure emergency care could be provided to the level Queenslanders expect, ACEM said.

The Australian Medical Students Association has warned training for the next generation of doctors will be at risk if doctors carry out a threat to quit en masse.

“Medical training is dependent on senior doctors sharing their knowledge and passing on their skills to junior doctors and medical students,” president Jessica Dean said in a statement on Friday.

“The ripple effects on Queensland’s health system will be seen for years to come if the contract dispute is not resolved soon.”