by S Lowe 5THE FM news online wattlerangenow
Country Health SA and Rural Doctors Associations have released statements this afternoon announcing the extension of the deadline for rural doctors to sign the standard industrial contract. It was due to be signed by February 24th but has now been extended to May 29th 2015.
Dr Peter Rischbieth RDASA Vice-President told 5THEFM/wattlerangenow the latest development is a huge step. Registrars will be allowed into the hospitals from today instead of their credentialing depending on the GP’s signing the standard contract. 108 Registrars were told earlier this month they could only work in rural hospitals if their supervisor, a senior doctor, signed the new contract with CHSA by Feb 24th.
RDASA said today it is a reprieve for rural patients
‘Rural patients will still be able to access services at their local hospitals beyond the end of February 2015, following a meeting between the Minister of Health and RDASA today.
RDASA presented the Minister of Health and the CEO of CHSALHN, Maree Geraghty with an amended contract which addressed rural doctors’ key concerns of EPAS, indexation of fees and billing arrangement of treatment of MVA and overseas patients.
RDASA President, Scott Lewis reports ‘RDASA was acting on concerns from their members that over 20 rural locations, including 10 maternity hospitals would not be able to be staffed adequately from tomorrow, if a circuit breaker was not offered by rural doctors to resolve the current impasse with CHSALHN.’
Peter Rischbieth, Vice-President RDASA says ‘The Minister indicated a willingness to consider the key issues raised by rural doctors and has offered a stop-gap measure of a 3 month extension to the current contract to ensure rural health services remain staffed while these issues are negotiated further. This ensures that senior and junior doctors are able to remain working in rural hospitals while the negotiation process continues.’
The CEO of CHSA, Maree Geraghty, has been instructed to now take responsibility for the negotiations with RDASA, and it is hoped this deadlock regarding the key issues is able to be resolved to enable rural doctors to continue to provide high quality and safe services to their communities.
RDASA is still not able to endorse the current contract offered by CHSALHN and will continue to negotiate the key issues identified.’
CHSA issued a statement saying:-
‘Following a meeting called by the Rural Doctors’ Association of South Australia with the Minister for Health and Ageing, Country Health SA has offered to extend the deadline for the Rural GP agreement by three months.
Maree Geraghty, Country Health SA, Chief Executive Officer, said the extension would provide GP practices with extra time to consider the agreement.
“We had a positive meeting with the Rural Doctors’ Association of South Australia (RDASA) today and we’re committed to working with them regarding the agreement,” Maree Geraghty said.
The decision to extend the timeframe follows a meeting with the Minister for Health and Ageing Jack Snelling, Maree Geraghty, and Dr Peter Rischbieth and Dr Scott Lewis from the RDASA.
Rural Doctors’ Association of South Australia Vice President, Peter Rischbieth, said he looked forward to working in a constructive and positive manner with Country Health SA, and that services for rural communities will be maintained, and that junior doctor training will continue at least for the next three months.
Rural Doctors’ Association President, Scott Lewis, said he welcomed this circuit breaker at the eleventh hour and personal intervention by the Minister.
The Standard Rural GP Agreement is a standard contract between rural GPs and Country Health SA regarding hospital based services.
The deadline for the agreement will now end on 29 May 2015′
Information provided by RDASA and CHSA