Surgeons snub hospital opening

THE Bundaberg Hospital has been forced to apply for area- of-need status after being unable to find a suitable Australian doctor to fill an open full-time orthopaedic surgeon position.

Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay Health Service District CEO Kevin Hegarty said the hospital had advertised the position earlier in the year, but of the 20 applications received, none was from Australian registered surgeons.

“The selection panel has short-listed four of the applicants and entered discussions with the preferred applicant, who is a South African-trained orthopaedic surgeon,” Mr Hegarty said.

“In order for this specialist to be appointed a formal area- of-need process needs to occur to evidence that no Australian-registered doctor is available to provide the service.”

The news comes just days after Brisbane-based orthopaedic surgeon Michael Lutz was sacked and rehired to his position at the Bundaberg Hospital, which he visited a half day each month.

Mr Hegarty said Queensland Health would employ a locally trained clinician if one became available.

Member for Bundaberg Jack Dempsey said it was unfortunate that a locally trained doctor was not available for the position.

“We need to be able to draw as many qualified people to the area as we can,” he said.

“We have to have incentives in place to draw qualified people to Bundaberg because once they get here they will realise what a great place it is to live.”

Member for Burnett Rob Messenger said the event showed the disregard Queensland Health had when employing Australian trained doctors — especially after their treatment of Dr Lutz.

“Queensland Health has a deliberate policy of hiring overseas doctors,” he said.

“They are doing that because they are cheap and compliant when compared to Australian-trained doctors.”

Mr Messenger said the state government was covering its tracks.

“It is quite obvious the government has been caught out,” he said.

“Any health bureaucrat who says otherwise is lying.”


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