Tweed medics 'threaten walkout'

DOCTORS at The Tweed Hospital have allegedly threatened to walk off the job next weekend if overdue payments dating back to March are not met.

The allegations were brought to light by Tweed MP Geoff Provest who blasted New South Wales Health in open Parliament yesterday.

“It's despicable that NSW Labor is failing to pay Tweed hospital doctors who are at the front line of keeping local residents alive,” Mr Provest said in Parliament yesterday morning.

According to him, 50 full-time doctors are waiting for payments for work done since March.

“It's not about the money, it's about sick people being treated.

“If you're sick you deserve to be treated,” Mr Provest said.

“It's also against the law and could cost the state government 20 per cent per annum in interest penalties.

“Some of the doctors are getting by okay because they do half their work at the hospital and the other in private practice. The ones who are full-time at the hospital are really suffering.”

Six months ago The Tweed Hospital was embroiled in another scandal over the payments of suppliers.

More recently Mr Provest said The Tweed Hospital had been unable to attract and retain nurses because their pay does not match Queensland standards.

North Coast Area Health Service (NCAHS) said their basic hourly rate of pay for a registered nurse was higher then their colleagues working in Queensland.

A spokeswoman for NCAHS said there was only one case of overdue pay.

“One doctor is concerned about a late Visiting Medical Officer (VMO) payment, which was caused by a processing delay,” the spokes-woman said.

“That overdue payment was recently paid. The NCAHS will be contacting the doctor to apologise for the late processing of his payment,” the spokeswoman said.

She said there was no noti- fication from any doctors about resigning next weekend.

Actions to ensure that there are no other processing problems with future VMO payments are being under-taken by NCAHS.

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