Health chief rejects doctors fleeing Queensland claim

QUEENSLAND'S health chief has rejected suggestions doctors are deserting regional Queensland in response to new doctor contracts.

Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt had asked during Question Time on Tuesday how many medical specialists had resigned since "the contract crisis" began and what steps would be taken to ensure patient care standards were not impacted in regional hospitals in the future.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg, outside the chamber, said he would not speculate on "what doctors do or don't do" but there had been no significant increase in doctors leaving Queensland Health.

"There are people who are saying they might do certain things but we see no evidence of that," he said.

"We have around about 200 doctors on average who leave the Queensland Health System each year for their own reasons.

"That's a consistent number, it's been around for years.

"And indeed we started out in 2011, the last full year of the previous government, with about 7700 doctors.

"We now have about 8300 doctors working in Queensland Health."

Mr Springborg told Mr Pitt in the Legislative Chamber that his government had put in place initiatives to attract more clinicians to regional areas around Queensland.

"One thing that has been received exceptionally well is the tier 4 payments in our contract arrangements," he said.

"The tier 4 payments allow us to be able to pay more money through our hospital and health services to attract doctors into rural and remote areas of this state.

"That in itself is something that is being recognised quite widely around this state.

"Under the contract arrangements, we will have the ability to provide recruitment, retention and attraction payments in areas that are going to address concerns that were not addressed by the previous government.

"We are not going to get into a situation, as we saw occur under the previous government with Caboolture, where we had an entire emergency department close down as a consequence of their negligence and mismanagement, where doctors actively walked away and they had to bring in the private sector to run emergency departments because they were not able to run those emergency departments.

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