March 14, 2006 | Graham

Two-thirds of three-fifths?

Question: What do you get when you pay a post-materialist doctor 50% more? The answer, if you’re Peter Beattie would appear to be: Two-thirds the person-hours for the same money.
In a move designed to encourage more doctors into the Queensland hospital system Peter Beattie increased the income of some junior doctors by up to 58%. But if you’re suddenly earning $200,000 per annum when you only need $133,000 what do you do with the extra $67,000? My sources tell me many doctors are actually going to use it to purchase quality of life, foresaking their full-time jobs for permanent part-time ones, leaving the health system no better off.
No-one should be really surprised by this. We’ve had polling telling us for some time that people are increasingly valuing quality of life over quantity of possessions. In fact it’s one of the reasons for the doctor shortage in the first place. Younger male doctors won’t work the hours older doctors routinely accepted. Younger female doctors won’t either, and they are going to take time out to have a family as well in many cases. The result – unless you train radically more graduates you are going to have doctor shortages. The number you need to train just went up another 50% thanks to Peter’s pay rise.
So throwing money at the problem would not appear to be a quick fix, although undoubtedly it will eventually help to persuade overseas doctors to fill the gaps. Afterall, where else in the world can you have our life-style and only need to work 28 hours a week to have enough money to enjoy it?

Posted by Graham at 12:40 pm | Comments (4) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. Company executives have been giving themselves huge pay increases in recent years. Haven’t noticed too many of them trading in the extra money for lifestyle. It seems as though the more money they get, the more they want. Is there any evidence doctors will behave any differently?

    Comment by rossco — March 15, 2006 @ 3:48 pm

  2. My information was based on what people say they are going to do. The proof will be in the eating, but the track record of new medical graduates to have more of a life than their older colleagues had says they may well keep their threats.

    Comment by Graham Young — March 16, 2006 @ 4:36 pm

  3. Yet another example of Beattie’s ad hoc knee-jerk approach to policy. Might Anna Bligh be better? She’s an ideological leftie but has a greater intellectual capacity than Beattie has ever shown. Perhaps we might get considered policy based on evidence and sound principles? More in hope than expectation …

    Comment by Faustino — March 16, 2006 @ 5:39 pm

  4. This is a case of the emperor’s new clothes and Beattie is a master tailor. I hate feeling naked.

    Comment by R — March 20, 2006 @ 3:33 pm

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