Divisions row over after-hours care

Rockingham Kwinana Division of General Practice (RKDGP), located just south of Perth, ran the state-backed after-hours clinic in Rockingham General Hospital for seven years until the government put the contract to tender and ultimately awarded it to neighbouring Canning Division last December.

Canning offered jobs to the clinic’s existing staff but the staff, concerned profits would go to an entity based outside the division, declined and set up a rival after-hours clinic next door.

Canning was forced to staff the clinic from scratch with some board members enlisted to cover shifts.

Both clinics opened on 1 Dec­ember, with the hospital facility funded by the state government contract and the new RKDGP clinic supported by a state government grant for after-hours services.

“There would be a suggestion that the government in doing this took what would seem to be a very unusual step: two neighbouring divisions, not for profits,