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Dispute with QH may end doctor's time here in Australia

BIG DECISION: Dr Mark Edwards is worried about changes to doctors contracts with Queensland Health.
BIG DECISION: Dr Mark Edwards is worried about changes to doctors contracts with Queensland Health. Allan Reinikka Rokadoctors

AN American specialist in emergency medicine is considering leaving his job at the Rockhampton Hospital and leaving Australia because of the contract dispute with Queensland Health.

Dr Mark Edwards specialises in emergency medicine, works part-time at the RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service and helps train young doctors in Rockhampton.

His family is in limbo while trying to decide whether or not to return to America after Queensland Health began pushing the controversial contracts.

His son and daughter are currently enjoying school at The Rockhampton Grammar School while his wife has a good job as a nursing educator at CQUniversity.

Dr Edwards said they had talked about coming to Australia their whole marriage, but now they were having serious discussions about leaving because of the contract dispute.

Doctors across the state have already threatened to quit en masse over the controversial contracts, and Dr Edwards said a number of his colleagues had already handed in letters of resignation.

Dr Edwards currently works on a 457 visa under the condition he is not displacing an Australian doctor.

He is concerned if he does not sign the contract and is forced to seek work outside of Queensland Health he would have to compete for jobs alongside Australian doctors who would be prioritised over him.

It took 16 months to be approved and recognised as a specialist, but once he did Dr Edwards said they fell in love with Rockhampton.

"I love the work, I do, it's highly satisfying and I'm working with some of the most delightful and talented young doctors that I've ever worked with," he said.

"We uprooted to come here, there's a reason we moved our entire family across the planet."

Dr Edwards began work in Rockhampton after seeing a Queensland Health recruiting station at an American medical conference in 2011.

"This dispute is really damaging the ability of Queensland Health to continue to pull in good talent," he said.

"It's a problematic document that the Minister for Health and the Premier are refusing to change."

Topics:  contracts doctors queensland health state government



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