Queensland's 74 senior doctors or visiting medical officers (VMOs) threatened to resign en masse on Wednesday unless the state's health department addresses their pay concerns.
The State Government and the Australian Medical Association of Queensland (AMAQ) are pointing at each other for a botched wage agreement with the VMOs. The deal expired 18 months ago without giving VMOs the pay increase provided in the agreement.
The 2009 agreement provides that specialist doctors be paid $140,000 a year for 15 hours of work a week. The amount was over and above what they earn in their private practice, according to Queensland Health Minister Paul Lucas.
Lucas added that the increase spread over the next three years gives 4.5, four and four per cent wage increase per year, which was the same for teachers, nurses and full-time doctors.
AMAQ president Gino Pecoraro warned that patients will suffer without the VMOs as their resignation may affect orthopaedics, ear, nose and throat, urology and plastic and reconstructive surgery services.
Pecoraro also said that In Brisbane, breast cancer treatment, ENT surgery, vascular surgery, diabetes treatment and neurosurgery are almost entirely staffed by VMOs.
However, Lucas blamed AMAQ for reneging on the agreement.