Calamitous start – the Northern Beaches PPP trial

12-Oct-2018

The Northern Beaches Hospital is scheduled to open on 30 October 2018. It has been heralded as the gold standard of public-private partnerships of health care in NSW.

For the past three years, ASMOF, and the other Health Unions, have been tirelessly seeking answers from the organisation regarding basic and fundamental information relating to the appointments of our members, and the services to be provided.

On Friday 5 October, at 2.41pm, less than two weeks out from opening, they sent through the contracts for our members and offered us till COB Monday 8 October 2018 to provide comments. They did not accept a request for an extension till the following Friday. By 9 October 2018, the majority of Staff Specialists had received their letters of offer for signature.

The terms and conditions included were not comparable, and demonstrably less favourable than their current conditions under NSW Health. Moreover, the offers contained an additional and significantly less favourable condition relating to their medical indemnity not provided to ASMOF in the draft letters of offer.

We regard this as egregiously deceitful and shameful behaviour and we unequivocally reject the conduct of Healthscope.

To be clear, the current offers regarding Training Education and Study Leave and the elected levels of private practice are in breach of the Project Deed – Northern Beaches Hospital (Deed), the Staff Specialist Determination 2015 (Determination), the Staff Specialist (State) Award (Award) and the relevant Policy Directives.

HealthScope have cherry picked provisions from the Award and Determination, creating ad hoc TESL and billing arrangements for Levels 1-5 specialists with the intent to pressure them to agree to the terms preferred by Healthscope. Clearly, the driving agenda is to reduce the costs of paying Levels 2-5 Staff Specialists their correct salary on migration to NBH.

Further, there are additional matters included in the letters of offer that do not match fundamental conditions pursuant to the Award and/or Determination. These include, ordinary hours of work, duties and responsibilities, recognition of continuous service and leave entitlements and part time working arrangements.

They also appear silent about credentialing, scope of practice and clinical privileges. As members will be aware, these are fundamental terms for the appointment of senior medical officers.

We are concerned there is the potential for the immediate removal of accreditation in some departments shortly after the Hospital opens, JMO’s training and supervision will likely be affected, rosters have not been finalised.

The appalling impact for doctors, and sadly patients, is patently clear.

We advise all staff, from levels 1 to 5 to not sign any contract provided to them by Healthscope. We cannot recommend you go across under the current contracts provided.

ASMOF wrote to the Ministry of Health, Northern Sydney Local Health District and Healthscope outlining our position and recommendations to amend the letters of offer so that it operates in line with the Deed, the Award and the Determination.

We are also calling on the NSW Ministry of Health to enforce their rights under the Deed and step-in to ensure our members go across with the correct rights and entitlements afforded to them under the Award and Determination. As such, we have notified them of a dispute and have sought the assistance of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission as a matter of urgency.

If you have received your contract, we remind you not to sign it and to contact us.

If you know of anyone who is not an ASMOF member who is moving to Northern Beaches Hospital, or who is not receiving these updates, please forward this on and ask they contact the Office as soon as they can on 9212 6900 or allocation@asmof.org.au.