Today's budget must provide for fair doctors salaries

AMA Tasmania welcomes investment from the Tasmanian Government State Budget into:

  1. The continuation of the funding into IT. This is a critical investment if we are to modernise Tasmania's Health Care System and enable new technologies to be used to support patient care within hospitals and people's homes.
  2. Initiatives to open more hospital beds earlier than first planned, as well as virtual beds through programs like COVID@homeplus and Hospital in the Home programs. Bed block continues to be a problem across our hospitals, with the obvious effect being that our emergency departments are overflowing, ambulances are ramped, and people are waiting too long to see a doctor, all because admitted patients remain stalled in the ED beds while they wait to be moved onto hospital wards.
  3. Focus on outpatient reform to help reduce waiting times. More efficient processes and better systems to remind patients of their appointments should help to see more patients receive the outpatient care they need. With the ageing population, demand for these and other health services will only increase.
  4. Drs4Drs funding. This Tasmanian service is much needed for our medical community. The state government’s contribution to our program will enable us to promote the service more widely, encourage doctors to volunteer on the roster and offer more education programs for our doctors. Looking after our doctor’s mental and physical health is our priority through this service.
  5. The Single-Employer Model is also funded to start in July 2023. Offering state government employment for GP registrars will hopefully encourage more registrars to take this training pathway. Our GP workforce is in decline, and we need to try to reverse the trend.
  6. More money into Mental Health reforms, including the Eating Disorder Treatment Centre and Mental Health Emergency Response Service for the Northwest.
  7. While capital investment continues to flow across all the major hospitals, the hospital equipment fund looks underdone, with just under $4m accounted for this next year and nothing beyond that.

However, the biggest issue for us is the need for the government to provide competitive salaries for doctors. Without meeting or exceeding Victorian pay rates, we will continue to haemorrhage doctors.

Doctors don't want to come to Tasmania or stay in Tasmania. Other states like Queensland are being far more aggressive in their measures to try to attract doctors.

We are not asking to lead the country in wages; we are only asking for Tasmanian doctors to join the middle of the pack. We can't afford to let our doctors continue to fall behind.

It would be interesting to know of the additional 390 doctors the government has brought into the health system, how many of those are locums.

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