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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 9 March 2011) . . Page.. 606 ..

ASMOF they have not felt that those have been resolved as quickly as they would have liked.

So there is ongoing management of this issue, but we are very much trying to support junior doctors in the workplace. We have had pretty good success when you look at the fact that we are employing now just under 300 junior doctors across the system. That is a pretty good result, but we can always do better. Where there are problems locally around HR issues and more perhaps senior staff refusing junior staff certain things, we need to crack down on that. They are the instructions that certainly I have provided, and the chief executive has as well.

MR HANSON: A supplementary, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Minister, as a result of staff shortages, have junior doctors at TCH been supervised at all times in accordance with ACT Health policy?

MS GALLAGHER: That is one of those trick questions. It is very difficult to answer that and say that every doctor has been supervised at every point in time according to a guideline. It depends on the qualification of the doctor. There are interns, there are RMOs, there are JMOs, there are postgraduate fellows. All of them have different supervisory arrangements. In terms of any advice that I have, I am not aware of any breach of those policies or procedures. I know that decisions have been taken around how to redeploy staff if there are vacancies, but it is an ongoing issue—how you manage your staff in a hospital, based on what walks through the door every day. But as far as I know it certainly has not been an issue raised with me by any of the professional bodies either.

MS BRESNAN: A supplementary, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Bresnan.

MS BRESNAN: Minister, will the AMA be permitted into formal negotiations, as part of the next EBA process, to represent the junior doctors if that is their choice?

MS GALLAGHER: As I understand it, yes, because the workplace relations laws have changed to allow that. The last time we did the bargaining, because they were not a union, they were not able to be a party to the agreement, but those laws have changed. In a way I set up a process to run concurrently—well, set up the consultative EBA process through this establishment of this other committee—to deal with the issues outside of the bargaining framework. But many of the issues brought to that table are industrial matters that we work through.

So we have the JMO consultative committee now established—that has been established for really the last year and a half—and I expect that the AMA will be at the table for the next round of bargaining, so it should be a pretty interesting time.

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