Media release

Statement from Dr Michael Lumsden-Steel Lead Negotiator for AMA Tasmania and the Tasmanian Salaried Medical Practitioners Society

Doctors in the public sector have recommenced industrial action from today after failing to receive an offer from the government that would address the growing number of vacancies in our hospitals for doctor-in-training positions, the backbone of all our hospitals.

Our doctors are on the ward floor. They are the ones who are being asked to do extra shifts because there are not enough of them to cover a roster. They are the ones who are tired and worn out from working long hours week after week.

Doctors talk through social media groups that include people from across the country. Everyone knows what is happening in Tasmania; right now, we are not an employer of choice. Interstate Doctors in Training do not want to come here. This is evidenced by the slow uptake of our anaesthetic training placements at the Royal Hobart Hospital (RHH), placements which were once in hot demand and the fact half of our emergency department Registrar positions at the Launceston General Hospital (LGH) are filled by locums.

We need to fix our salaries to be the same as or better than Victoria’s if we are going to fill those training places. If we don’t, the medical workforce crisis and morale in our hospitals will only get worse.

Our negotiating team has written to the Premier asking that he takes hold of the negotiations and delivers an offer that will make Tasmania once again an attractive place to work.

We have also invited him to meet with our doctors in all the hospitals across the state next week to hear from the coalface as to why we are fighting so hard for a better deal for doctors.

This is not about our members wanting more money for themselves; this is about our members wanting to have colleagues to work beside them so that they don’t have to burn themselves out and work in dangerous situations because there just aren’t the doctors there to do the work.

We also want the government to stop spending $90m a year on locums who take that money back out of Tasmania but instead spend the money on doctors prepared to live and work in our state as part of our medical and hospital team.>>>ENDS.

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