Rural Doctors provisionally given green light to negotiate

9 November 2018

The ACCC proposes to allow the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) to negotiate contracts with hospitals and health facilities on behalf of rural doctors.

The authorisation will allow RDAA to negotiate terms and conditions for GPs, locums and other rural doctors who work as Visiting Medical Officers in public hospitals and health facilities. It also applies to doctors who provide primary health care services, including after-hours services.

“Collective negotiation can deliver cost savings and offer doctors more control over their contract terms. This can help to attract and retain doctors to provide essential medical services in rural and regional communities,” ACCC Commissioner Roger Featherston said.

“The ACCC has previously authorised the RDAA to collectively negotiate at a state-wide level. Our draft determination proposes to extend authorisation for five more years and for the first time it would allow RDAA to negotiate across Australia, irrespective of the structure of the health system in a particular state.”

Collective agreements between competitors would normally breach competition laws unless authorised by the ACCC.

The ACCC has determined that in this case there are likely to be public benefits from allowing collective bargaining to continue and stakeholders have not raised any concerns.

The ACCC has granted interim authorisation to allow the existing arrangements to continue while it considers the substantive application, and will consider any submissions before making its final decision.

Further information is available at Rural Doctors Association of Australia Limited

Note to editors

Authorisation provides statutory protection from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Broadly, the ACCC may grant authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment.

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