An Open Letter - from the anonymous SMO to the Premier of Queensland and the Minister for Health
These words are not mine - but the opinions in them are common to many of us.
Date: 7 March 2014 10:48:17 PM AEST
Subject: Nothing here is impossible Mr Springborg
Dear Minister Springborg and Premier Newman,
We have been told that your legislative changes are irreversible, and the train carrying these individual contracts has already pulled out of the station, and cannot be stopped. We sincerely hope that your talks with the SMO representatives around the concerning issues in the contracts result in a successful outcome for all. If SMOs are not convinced that our ability to continue to practice public health medicine with safety is secured, then the state will be in grave danger of losing its' brightest and best.
Please listen: We say to you that nothing in your legislation, and the individual contracts, is irreversible. This train wreck can most certainly be stopped. You are dealing with a group of people who understand what is truly irreversible and impossible, as they have stood in the face of death and tried to stare death down, bargained against time with their knowledge, skills, equipment and courage, and sometimes failed, and often times not. When you have to tell parents that their child has autism and intellectual impairment and that their lives will forever be filled with difficulty and challenge, and watch their grief unfold - that is irreversible.
When you watch a child bleed to death before your eyes as you pump blood in their arm only to see it pour out of the gaping hole in their skull, where it has been sheared off from a motor vehicle accident - that is irreversible.
When you tell parents that their baby has cerebral palsy and will never walk or talk, or even eat independently, because their brain is malformed or damaged beyond repair - that is irreversible.
Nothing here with your individual contract legislation is impossible to change - we'll tell you what is impossible. When parents beg you to save a child's life after a second failed bone marrow transplant for leukaemia, as you're watching them die from an infection they have no white blood cells left to fight - that is impossible.
When you're trying to bring back a heart beat in a child who has been pulled from the bottom of a pool, an hour after its heart beat stopped - that is impossible.
Don't you dare sit there and tell us that this legislation is irreversible and that stopping this contract roll out is impossible. Because we know that all it takes is a show of hands in a parliamentary room, and the swipe of a pen across a piece of paper. No fancy machines, no million dollar drugs, no transplanted tissues, no 12 hour operations, and no miracles of fate. Just understanding and good will from your colleagues and yourselves. And if you're up all night to achieve that, then welcome to our lives.
We have each others' backs, us medicos - we always have and always will.
Because we have all stood there with the sick and the dying, and we know how lonely that journey is without colleagues at our shoulders, and support and resources at our backs.
So we will stand together, even if we have to walk away, together - until you listen, and pull on the brakes, and stop this train wreck from playing out to its end. Please enter the discussions with good will, and open minds and hearts, and leave your egos on the coat rack outside. The health of the state is in your hands - please don't throw it away.
Sincerely, Senior Medical Officers of Queensland Health.
PS To all of our colleagues - please don't walk away or sign just yet - stand at our shoulders because we've got your backs.
PPS Please someone send this to every QLD SMO.