Penalty rate scrimp puts patients in danger

The union’s joint NSW and Victorian branch – currently battling to keep its 1600 junior doctors, registrars and medical officers as the AMA (NSW) seeks to become a union – said it was preparing a case for the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) calling for the state’s health department to recognise the “remote recall” penalty for hospital doctors taking calls off duty.

Salaried hospital doctors are paid a retainer of $13.40 to be on-call overnight, with NSW Health refusing additional per call penalties if the call does not require them to check patient records online, the Health Services Union (HSU) claims. It claims the penalty should apply regardless.

“An emergency department that is GP-run, they’re going to feel more comfortable about ringing [if the penalty is paid],” a chief medical officer at a NSW regional hospital told MO on condition of anonymity.

“If they’re getting

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