Doctors on short-term locum contracts are being paid “desperation money” as the Queensland state government grapples with a chronic doctor shortage.
According to the Courier Mail, tax-payer-funded pay packages worth $1 million per year have been offered to fly-in locum doctors as some hospitals have operated without a doctor, and patients have been turned away.
Each Hospital and Health Service (HHS) in Queensland is responsible for managing and engaging locums, with some medical recruitment job services offering general practitioners nearly $3000 per day.
Meanwhile, Queensland Health doctors are not permitted to take up these government locum positions.
“Desperation money is being thrown at fill-in doctors instead of the government resourcing their own medics,” Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Queensland chair Bruce Willett said, reported the Courier Mail.