Union organiser Ron Fossen rallies health practitioners at Hervey Bay Hospital yesterday.
Union organiser Ron Fossen rallies health practitioners at Hervey Bay Hospital yesterday. Alistair Brightman

Health professionals protest pay

HEALTH professionals on the Fraser Coast took simmering discontent to the streets of Hervey Bay yesterday.

Pharmacists, radiographers, social workers, dietitians, nutritionists, speech pathologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and dental assistants were represented on Nissen Street, outside Hervey Bay Hospital.

“There is genuine discontent,” speech pathologist Ada Rodriguez said of the 2.5 per cent pay increase proposed by Queensland Health.

QPSU organiser Ron Fossen told about 20 health practitioners from Maryborough and Hervey Bay hospitals that they were being treated with contempt by Paul Lucas, and that the proposed deal would come with reduced conditions.

“A lot of other elements are impacting on the pay rise,” dietitian and nutritionist Grace Andrews said.

“Interest rates, pay rises for MPs. It is less than CPI.”

Mr Fossen said back-filling for health professionals was effectively non-existent, and revealed that radiographers in some centres were talking about withdrawing services.

“We’re not supporting that because it would have an impact,” he said.

The new pay negotiations started in September with a steering committee in Brisbane to square off with QH representatives.

“Conditions that were hard won in 2007 are effectively being taken back by this pay proposal,” Ms Rodriguez said.

“They’re still working on phase two of the old agreement. Those adjustments have not even been finalised in some cases.”

Doris Yung, also a dietitian and nutritionist, described the situation as “very discouraging”, while Ms Andrews feared for the future quality of services on the Fraser Coast if the deal was not improved.

“It would be a shame if we couldn’t attract health practitioners to this area because of this. This will threaten services. We are valuable to the community.”



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