A major breakthrough has been reached in the long-running doctor contracts dispute in Queensland, meaning mass resignations will be avoided.
The long-running dispute over doctors contracts appears over in Queensland, but unions say the damage has been done.
A handful of union and lobby groups have reached an in-principle agreement over senior medical contracts after Health Minister Lawrence Springborg made a raft of concessions over the last month.
Together Union secretary Alex Scott says while there were some small technical details to resolve, amended contracts would be ready for doctors to sign next week – well ahead of the May 31 deadline.
The threat of mass resignations has now subsided, but it will be ultimately up to doctors as to whether they will sign their contracts, Mr Scott says.
“The government needs to re-establish trust in its workforce,” Mr Scott told reporters.
“Given the program of vilification that they’ve undertaken for the past 12 months to attack the senior medical workforce without any basis other than trying to ram through an ideological agenda.”
Mr Scott said fundamental changes to the contracts meant profits were no longer being put ahead of patients.
Anaesthetist Rob Elliott said he would work reduced hours given the ill will he felt towards the government over contract negotiations.
“There are many of us who feel very aggrieved by this process – this is not a process that was started by doctors,” he said.
“There’s a lot of people who work very hard for the public health service, myself included, that would have been there full-time … but there will be damage that will have lasting effects unfortunately.”
Mr Springborg said the negotiations looked positive.
“Out of this, the patients of Queensland will be the real winners,” he told AAP.
Senior doctors will meet on Tuesday night to discuss the latest developments.
After eight months of tense negotiations, the Australian Medical Association says the threat of mass walkout has now been averted.
“It certainly appears we are in a position now where mass resignation is no longer required,” president Steve Hambleton says.