AMA slams health union, demands change in law

THE AMA (NSW) has declared the Health Services Union (HSU) “not what the medical profession stands for” and demanded the government change laws so it can represent the embattled body’s 1600 doctor members.

Currently, NSW is the only state where strict industrial laws prevent the AMA’s state body from acting as a union – it can act only as a “professional body” with no collective bargaining powers.

That leaves HSUeast, the NSW-Victorian HSU branch at the centre of escalating corruption allegations, the only choice for the interns, residents, registrars and junior medical officers among its ranks. AMA state bodies can collectively bargain for doctors in other states.

Dr Kathryn Austin, chair of the AMA (NSW) Doctors-In-Training Committee, said the HSU had never adequately represented junior doctors’ complex industrial arrangements and the scandal should be a trigger to have the laws changed.