SA public hospital doctors to stop work

Public hospital doctors in South Australia will walk off the job on Thursday as part of a prolonged dispute over pay and conditions with the state government.

Doctors are being asked to accept a 1.5 per cent wage increase but no improvement to conditions, the Salaried Medical Officers Association says.

The union argues other medical staff, including nurses and paramedics, have recently negotiated pay increases of 2.5 per cent and improved conditions.

"I have met with members twice over the last month and they have unequivocally rejected this offer," Association president Dr Laura Willington said.

But the union stressed Thursday morning's stop work meeting would not impact on patient safety, because appropriate cover would be organised for those doctors participating.

Elective surgeries across a number of metropolitan hospitals had been cancelled in advance and patients notified but emergency departments were unaffected.

Health Minister Peter Malinauskas said the number of patients impacted was between six to a dozen with government having plan for the industrial action.

"Having known that this was coming, meant that it gave us the capacity to not put in place elective surgeries today that would have otherwise been the case," Mr Malinauskas told ABC radio.

The newly installed health minster said he had shown enough goodwill in negotiations with the union having met with them three times since taking over the portfolio.

"My job now is to make sure that we continue to negotiate to see if we can't get a resolution that is in the interests of the health system generally," he said.

Dr Willington said they had been negotiating with the government, including previous Health Minster Jack Snelling, for the last 18 months on a new enterprise agreement and were hopeful Thursday's action was the only interruption to services.

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