Nurses ‘insulted’ for AMAQ’s ‘bargain basement’ health claim

A WAR of words has broken out amongst the state's medics with nurses slamming comments from the Australian Medical Association Queensland chief in today's Courier-Mail that Queensland was offering "bargain basement" health care.

Nurses have branded the claims from the AMAQ's new president Dr Chris Perry as "insulting"

"The QNMU is dismayed by AMAQ comments regarding the contribution of health workers within the Queensland Health system," Queensland Nurses and Midwives' Union secretary Beth Mohle said.

"These comments are professionally insulting to other non-medical clinicians. The AMAQ's comments are vague and non-specific at a time when all Queensland Health workers need to be at the table and committed to solving any issues that occur within the system. Blanket statements with limited detail are not constructive and serve only to undermine team cohesiveness at a time when it's essential.

"Given Covid-19, we face significant challenges in terms of clearing backlogs linked to the pandemic and it's essential all health workers are able to work to their full scope in order to provide appropriate care for the community. All health workers make valuable contributions to the state's public hospitals and health services and there is more than enough work for everyone."

Beth Mohle, secretary of the QNMU. Picture: AAP/ Ric Frearson
Beth Mohle, secretary of the QNMU. Picture: AAP/ Ric Frearson

The union secretary said the QNMU has "been calling for and would welcome greater transparency in the healthcare system around budgetary blowouts and how they could be better contained".

Yesterday Dr Perry said the health care system was run by a Government that used potentially deadly tactics to cut costs and fudge waiting lists.

In an extraordinary attack on the State Government's "political point scoring", the Australian Medical Association Queensland has called on doctors to unite and take a stand against inferior patient care .

Dr Perry said he plans to take action to stamp out the Queensland Health practice of allowing other health practitioners to perform the work of qualified doctors, like patients being referred to audiologists rather than ENT specialists as wait times are shorter and its cheaper.

"We have public patients with referrals to specialists being diverted instead to other health practitioners as a means of cost-cutting and creating an impression that people are waiting less time in the public system for care," Dr Perry said.

The new AMAQ president Dr Chris Perry. Picture: John Gass
The new AMAQ president Dr Chris Perry. Picture: John Gass

"Role substitution can lead to serious injury and even death. Children with ear issues are having audiograms by audiologists who have no diagnostic training. If there is no hearing loss on the day of the test, these children are not seen by a doctor so recurrent ear infections, slow language and other problems go checked. This could lead to permanent hearing loss in a child," he said.

The new president said the AMAQ has consistently and regularly voiced concerns and fears for patient safety regarding task substitutions. The unusual outcry from medics is reminiscent of the attack on the Newman government over the pay dispute debacle.

The AMAQ has asked doctors to complete a survey about the state of the current health care system and what's required for the future.

"Doctors are extremely concerned about the direction of our health care system and we are providing them with an opportunity to voice their concerns," he said.

Originally published as Nurses 'insulted' over AMAQ's 'bargain basement' health claim