Know Your Rights: Guidelines for Regrading – Senior Career Medical Officers


Did you know that Career Medical Officers (‘CMOs’) can, on application, be regraded to Senior Career Medical Officer (‘SCMO’) status pursuant to clause 4 of the Public Hospital Career Medical Officers (State) Award (the ‘CMO Award’)? Read on for more information.

Clause 4 of the CMO Award

Relevantly, clause 4 of the CMO Award sets out the provisions for a CMO to apply to the grading committee to be regraded as a SCMO. Below is the essence of this clause.

Firstly, a grading committee “shall be constituted to consider and make recommendations to the employer in relation to appointment to the Senior Career Medical Officer grade.” -subclause 4(i).

However, the grading committee cannot recommend appointment to SCMO status unless the individual meets the requirements under sub-clause 4(ii), being:

“(a) has at least seven years postgraduate clinical experience; and

(b) has a demonstrated capacity to perform clinical duties and responsibilities at a senior level with minimal clinical supervision in one or more areas of medical speciality; and

(c) is required by the employer to perform clinical duties and responsibilities at a senior level with minimal clinical supervision in one or more areas of medical speciality as required by the employer. “

If the grading committee does not recommend progression for a CMO to SCMO status, then the committee is required to provide written reasons as to why progression was not recommended in this instance. Such written reasons must be provided to the CMO within 21 days of the date of the meeting held to consider the application for regrading.

There is a limit on the number of applications that a CMO can make for progression to SCMO grade in any 12-month period. The clause limits this to one application per 12-month period.

Lastly, once progression has been approved, the SCMO will progress to the second step of the SCMO grade on the anniversary date of commencing on that grade.

NSW Health Guideline – GL2019_004

This NSW Health guideline document (the ‘Guideline’) provides additional information to assist the public health organisations, the grading committee as well as the individual CMO in relation to the process and procedures regarding applications by CMOs for progression to the SCMO status.

The Award provisions, particularly the requirements set out under sub-clause 4(ii), have been further expanded on in this Guideline so that CMOs are aware of the information and documentation that are required to be submitted with their application. For example, see the step-by-step process as outlined under section 3 of the Guideline.

If eligible, a CMO should submit their application for progression to their public health organisation who will then send the application onto the grading committee in accordance with the procedure set out in the Guideline.

Here are some practical tips on the process

  • The CMO applicant must ensure (as far as possible) that a complete set of documentation is forwarded by their employer to the grading committee. An application checklist is included on the last page of the Guideline. Incomplete applications will be sent back to the employer, resulting in delay to the progress of the application.
  • CMO applicants should be prepared to monitor the progress of their application to try to avoid any unforeseen delays. An application must pass through several pairs of hands before it reaches the grading committee and to avoid documents sitting in in-trays for long periods, an applicant should be prepared to chase things up with the person/s concerned.
  • The examples of what might constitute a SCMO position given under section 3 of the Guideline are well worth a look. They give practical meaning to the award provisions.

To access the Public Hospital Career Medical Officers (State) Award and the NSW Health Guideline GL2019_004, please click on the below links.

Public Hospital Career Medical Officers (State) Award

Regrading Guidelines for SCMOs – GL2019_004


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