Senior doctors may be encouraged to leave Queensland’s public health system due to current developments in the specialist contract dispute, according to the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO), which has expressed “extreme concern” over the possible ramifications.
“This would have a major impact on the eyecare needs of the community, the quality of clinical services, the accreditation of hospitals as training posts and the training of future ophthalmologists,” said RANZCO President Dr. Stephen Best. He called for “a rapid and appropriate solution from Queensland Health that will see the current standards and numbers of appropriate senior doctors maintained”.
RANZCO is the body responsible for training all ophthalmologists in Australia and New Zealand, and the accreditation of the hospitals in which they train.
“It is not a simple process to replace specialist doctors,” he said. “Given Australia’s reputation for having one of the best training programs in the world, we do not see that overseas trained specialists will necessarily be suitable educators.
“We support the position statement by the Committee of Presidents of Medical Colleges that the Australian community is entitled to expect that medical specialists will be trained to high standards of competence under appropriate supervision to ensure the provision of high quality, safe patient care.
“Queensland’s eyecare needs are particularly high for the indigenous population. Queensland ophthalmologists have a very good reputation for seeing to these needs, but without public hospital ophthalmologists and stable future training in Queensland this will inevitably decline.