The AMA (WA) President Dr Andrew Miller said such a transition process represented a major change and that the WA Government was obliged to discuss it with the doctors’ peak body under the terms of the current industrial agreement.
“We appreciate the Government has indicated the 890 Ramsay Healthcare staff would have the opportunity to transition to the public sector, employed by the South Metropolitan Health Service (SMHS), and retain their prior service, long service leave and paid parental leave entitlements.
“However, the devil is always in the detail and we would need to look very carefully at these arrangements to ensure patients and healthcare workers at Peel are not being disadvantaged in this process.
“Unfortunately, SMHS was one of the worst performers in our 2020 Hospital Health Check survey of junior medical staff, and its cultural problems stand in contrast to privately operated facilities such as Joondalup, where Ramsay has shown a relatively high regard for its medical staff.
“In every category, our doctors in training indicated SMHS is in crisis. That included morale and culture; teaching and training; rosters, overtime and payslips; wellbeing and leave.”
The AMA (WA) President said the contracts senior doctors would be employed under would need close attention.
“Privately operated public hospitals in WA offer senior doctors permanent employment, whereas WA Health currently refuses to provide permanent employment for senior doctors,” Dr Miller said.
The AMA (WA) President said the Hospital Health Check results were corroborated by the Health Minister’s own findings.
“Medical practitioner results from the 2020 Minister for Health’s Your Voice in Health survey show SMHS as one of the worst-performing health service providers in WA Health,” Dr Miller said.
Only 39 per cent of medical practitioners at SMHS think it’s safe to speak up and challenge the way things are done in their organisation.
“That’s a dangerous level of fear amongst clinical staff we would not want to replicate at Peel Health Campus (PHC); of course, medical engagement and morale have a direct impact on patient outcomes,” Dr Miller said.
“We look forward to working with the SMHS and the Health Department in good faith to ensure the best outcomes for doctors and, of course, for the patients attending PHC into the future.
“We owe it to the WA public to get this process right.”