Tweed Hospital doctors are being forced to threaten to withdraw services because the NSW Labor Government hasn’t paid many of them since March.
The explosive allegations were made in a speech in the NSW Parliament yesterday morning by Tweed Nationals MP, Geoff Provest.
“Payments are now made out of some bureaucracy in Newcastle which has been directed by the Rees Government to delay paying doctors for as long as possible,” Mr Provest said.
“It is despicable that NSW Labor is failing to pay Tweed Hospital doctors, who are at the front line of keeping local residents alive.
“It is also against the law and could cost the Government 20 per cent per annum in interest penalties under the Treasury directive in the Public Finance and Audit Regulation 2005, part 4, clause 15.”
Mr Provest said the Tweed Hospital was ‘dying of a thousand Labor cuts’.
“Last year we had the scandal of suppliers not being paid; we can’t get enough nurses at the hospital because they get paid five per cent more across the border, and now Visiting Medical Officers are being forced into a damaging confrontation, because unlike Premier Rees, they are not getting paid regularly,” Mr Provest said.
The MP said he would do whatever he could to force the Government to act.
“I am lodging a notice of motion in Parliament demanding an immediate inquiry, adequate compensation and measures to ensure this does not re-occur,” he said.
Mr Provest said similar problems are happening in other NSW regional hospitals with the news a Bega doctor has resigned for the same reason.
Mr Provest also said this week that the Tweed Hospital will not be able to attract and retain nurses until their pay is increased to match Queensland standards.
The comments followed a new Industrial Relations Commission pay claim by the NSW Nurses Association, which wants increased penalty rates for nurses and midwives doing night shifts.
“Why would nurses work at the Tweed Hospital when they have better pay in conditions just across the border?” Mr Provest asked.
“We understand NSW Labor has mismanaged the economy, so the cupboard is bare, but you can’t put a price on decent health services.
“One of the reasons the 30 new beds ‘officially opened’ at the Tweed Hospital last July still aren’t occupied is because the North Coast Area Health Service has been unable or unwilling to recruit the required support staff including nurses.
“It is completely unreasonable for NSW Labor to deny fair pay to hardworking Tweed nurses.”