Minister doubts doctor exodus claim in Qld

Tracey Ferrier
The head of the AMA says bullying is forcing doctors out of Queensland's public hospitals

The Australian Medical Association claims bullying is forcing too many doctors out of Queensland's public hospitals, but the health minister says he's seen no evidence of that.

Michael Gannon says doctors are being muzzled on important issues, including bed and staffing shortages and the early discharge of patients.

"The bullying and negative culture in public hospitals has doctors leaving in droves to work in the private sector," Dr Gannon told The Courier-Mail on Wednesday.

"Bed shortages have become a joke. There are staff shortages and doctors are being forced to sign off less-than-perfect care."

But Health Minister Steven Miles cast doubt on the exodus claims, saying an extra 1604 doctors came to work for Queensland Health in the three years to March this year.

He said turnover of medical staff was less than half of what was seen elsewhere.

"Given public hospital activity is increasing at a greater rate than private hospital activity, it seems highly unlikely that there is an exodus of public hospital doctors to the private sector," he said in a statement.

Mr Miles did not directly address Dr Gannon's claims about a "shameful" culture of bullying in hospitals, but noted the government paid the Queensland arm of the AMA to train medical interns in resilience.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said the public health system was clearly in crisis.

She said there was more federal money on the table to alleviate the pressures doctors were under, but Queensland has refused to sign up.

"There is record funding coming from Canberra that (Premier) Annastacia Palaszczuk continues to ignore," she said.

"It will mean more than $29 billion for Queensland in the five years to 2024-25."