VMOs urged to seek advice on contracts
GPs in western NSW have been urged not to sign Visiting Medical Officer (VMO) contracts with the Western NSW Local Health District (LHD) until they have taken legal advice, as many were given less than 24 hours to agree to new three-year deals.
A new policy adopted by the LHD for the reappointment of GP VMOs required the doctors, some of whom had worked under contract for decades, to submit resumes and references and undergo performance reviews before they were offered new contracts.
Coonabarabran GP Dr Aniello Iannuzzi, who received his contract days after the 30 September deadline, said it was “hideous” treatment for GPs who were the backbone of the rural health system.
A NSW Health spokesperson said issues in obtaining documentation had delayed some contracts but short term arrangements had been made to ensure communities were not left without medical coverage.
Medical Indemnity Protection Society medico-legal adviser Dr Rob Walters said contracts needed to be assessed by legal advisers and it was “totally unacceptable” to expect that to happen in a matter of days.