Medical service says government owes $230,000
A pay dispute has emerged between a Far Northern medical service and a federal health agency, with the former claiming it has been left hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket.
Call My Doctor Pty Ltd managing director Lindsay Stewart claims that unless Northern Queensland Primary Health Network pays his company $230,000, it will be forced to shut down its services on the Tablelands.
NQPHN, however, has rejected Mr Stewart's claim, saying it is "constructively" addressing the allegations with the company.
Call My Doctor was contracted earlier this year by NQPHN to deliver improved access to after-hours health care to residents in the Mareeba and Tablelands region, through a GP and telehealth service.
Mr Stewart said his company was paid earlier this year by the health agency, however, since then he claimed the network had held off paying them for several weeks of work.
He said this has stemmed from a contractual issue, involving a request by NQPHN to supply patient details. He said his company had refused to comply with the "unacceptable" request, due to national health privacy laws.
"My wife and I are having to pay our staff on our credit cards," he said. "We've gone along with this, because we believe the people of northern Queensland need our (medical) service."
In a short statement, NQPHN chief executive John Gregg rejected the allegation the network was in arrears to Mr Stewart's company.
"NQPHN is constructively addressing the allegations made by Call My Doctor Pty Ltd with that organisation," he said. "NQPHN remains committed to continuous delivery of the right care, in the right place, at the right time to all members of the communities it serves."
Last month, Call My Doctor announced it would carry out a business assessment of its after-hours, in-home service in operation on the Tablelands, to see whether it could extend the service down the range to Cairns.
Mr Stewart, however, said these plans were currently on hold.