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Specialists in Public Hospitals

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Entitlements as a specialist working in a Victorian public hospital


Conditions of employment in a public hospital are generally determined by three documents.

First is the collective industrial agreement (described as a “Certified Agreement”) that applies to your hospital. Most metropolitan and some regional hospitals have collective agreements. A list of collective agreements is to be found here.

Second, AMA has negotiated statewide agreements with hospitals to enhance conditions and salaries beyond those contained in the collective agreements. These changes are contained within “Heads of Agreement”. The two most recent are the July 2006 Heads of Agreement and April 2009 Heads of Agreement.

Therefore “collective” conditions are made up of the collective agreement that applies to your hospital plus any additional entitlements detailed in the Heads of Agreement.

In some hospitals the collective agreement only applies to a group such as VMOs or full time specialists. If no collective agreement applies to your hospital or to your group, you should instead read the Medical Practitioners Award 2010, the former Hospital Specialist and Medical Administrators Award 2002, and the Fair Work Act 2009 to determine basic legal entitlements.

Then apply the Heads of Agreement. To the extent that conditions are better, the Heads of Agreement prevail over the collective agreements and Award.

Third, on top of these collective agreements most doctors will have an individual common law contract with their hospital. This will provide extra detail on your working arrangements such as on-call requirements, hours and days of work, a job description and conditions that are more beneficial to you than the collective conditions.

So to determine your actual entitlements read the collective agreements relevant to your hospital plus your individual contract.

If you are unsure of your status as an employee or independent contractor please contact our Workplace and Advocacy Unit on (03) 9280 8722.

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