Queensland Health is taking doctor unions to court in a bid to stop them from circulating “misleading information” about controversial doctor contracts.
Queensland Health says doctor unions have nothing to fear about legal action aimed at stopping them spreading “misleading information” about controversial senior doctor contracts.
The federal court will on Monday hear an application lodged by the health authority against Together Union and its secretary Alex Scott, The Australian Salaried Medical Officers Federation and its president Dr Tony Sara, and the Australian Medical Association’s Queensland branch.
The application seeks to stop the circulation of documents the government considers misleading – a step which unions say is extraordinary and a case of bullying and intimidation.
But Queensland Health director-general Ian Maynard says unions have nothing to fear and can continue discussions with doctors.
“We are in no way trying to stop unions or professional medical associations talking to doctors,” Mr Maynard told AAP.
“I’m actively encouraging unions to engage with doctors, but that engagement has got to be based on the truth.”
But Mr Scott says the union has been honest and accused the government of stifling debate.
“It doesn’t surprise us that the government is taking such extreme measures to try and close down a discussion which clearly the Queensland community is gravely concerned about and the medical profession are gravely concerned about,” he told AAP.
“Rather than addressing those concerns, the government is now trying to find more and more outrageous legal tactics or bullying and intimidation to try and stop what is an important community discussion.”
Health Minister Lawrence Springborg wants the contracts signed by April 30 and has made concessions in a bid to win over doctors.
But doctors have rejected the amended contracts and threatened to quit en masse.
Mr Maynard says the government will this week address doctors’ concerns about the ability of the director-general to alter contracts without their agreement.
The changes taken to parliament will constrain the director-general from altering a contract if doing so disadvantages the doctor, he said.