Refocus on GP specialist recognition following Court’s decision | AMA (WA)


Court decision GP specialist recognition

Refocus on GP specialist recognition following Court’s decision

Tuesday September 19, 2023

Industrial Magistrate O’Donnell recently handed down her decision dismissing the AMA (WA)’s claim for GPs (with FRACGP or FACRRM) to be classified as Specialists/Consultants under the relevant AMA (WA) WA Health industrial agreement (the Agreement).

In the decision, Industrial Magistrate O’Donnell found that while Practitioners (with FRACGP or FACRRM) could fit within the definition of a Consultant/Specialist in the Agreement, they also appropriately fit within the classifications (Senior Medical Practitioner or District Medical Officer) that they had been engaged by WA Health, and the current terms of the Agreement didn’t require them to be classified as a Consultant/Specialist (and therefore there was no breach of the Agreement).

This result is extremely disappointing, and we want to acknowledge all the hardworking GPs in both the public and private health systems – particularly those who invested time and shared their experiences with the AMA (WA) during this two-year process.

We are now refocusing our efforts to ensure that Practitioners with these fellowships are classified as Consultant/Specialist within WA Health, and are seeking to resolve this issue in our negotiations with the WA Government for a replacement WA Health Agreement, with terms and definitions in the current Agreement requiring amendment.

We commenced that work last week, calling for expressions of interest from current Members to join our Bargaining Committee.

While the claim was dismissed, the Industrial Magistrate’s decision confirms that there is nothing preventing WA Health from appointing Practitioners with FRACGP or FACRRM to the highest salary positions now.

If you feel like this applies to your situation, AMA (WA) Members can access free advice and representation from our Industrial Relations Team by submitting an online query, emailing or calling (08) 9273 3000.

The AMA (WA) believes there is an urgent need for the WA Government to attract and retain GPs within WA Health, to remain competitive with the other States and Territories where Practitioners with FRACGP or FACRRM are classified as Specialists in the same manner as any other type of fellowship, and we are treating this as a priority issue.