NSW to review taxpayer-funded flights for doctors

NSW Government to review taxpayer-funded business class flights for doctors.

NSW to review taxpayer-funded flights for doctors

Talk about entitlements. The NSW Government has a policy that allows doctors to take ‘study’ trips on which doctors fly business class – paid for by the public purse.

Doctors can also extend their trips for ‘private leave’. Does this mean they can book in a ‘learning experience’ which could take one afternoon and extend their trip to a week – with all flights on the taxpayer’s dime?

A new report released by the Auditor-General said the policy was “reducing the effectiveness” of policies aimed at keeping costs down. It also revealed these trips may be being used by doctors to mine frequent flyer points for personal use.

The NSW Health special rule allows doctors on “Training, Education and Study Leave” to fly business class to the tune of up to $33,000 each year, allowing them to take ‘personal leave’ during the trips.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the benefits were allowed so that the state could retain the “brightest and best surgeons and physicians”. He also said that the awards came into effect before he was minister.

“It may not be appropriate to change ... nonetheless I will be looking at the Auditor-General’s report and asking the ministry to give me advice,” said Mr Hazzard.

Opposition health spokesman Walt Secord has called for a review of the policy, saying it flies “in the face of a health and hospital system under enormous pressure”.

He said this type of travel should not be a blanket entitlement, but rather judged on a case-by-case basis and that while some cases may be justified, he is concerned about potential abuses.

Last year, the NSW Government spent $250 million on travel.

Do you think it’s fair that you may be paying for doctors to travel business class on your dime?

RELATED ARTICLES





    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    Maggie
    2nd Dec 2017
    9:25am
    If you accept that it is OK for doctors to get a business class seat in this situation, does it matter when the return trip takes place for heaven's sake!
    I think it is just fine for doctors to fly business class when they are travelling for work - such as helping out in less fortunate countries or sharing their knowledge. Otherwise they should get an economy fare and upgrade out of their own pockets if they so wish.
    Maggie
    2nd Dec 2017
    9:25am
    If you accept that it is OK for doctors to get a business class seat in this situation, does it matter when the return trip takes place for heaven's sake!
    I think it is just fine for doctors to fly business class when they are travelling for work - such as helping out in less fortunate countries or sharing their knowledge. Otherwise they should get an economy fare and upgrade out of their own pockets if they so wish.
    Amy
    2nd Dec 2017
    12:16pm
    @Maggie, you seriously believe our doctors should be going off to help the supposed "less fortunate countries" & get business class flights paid for by the taxpayers while they're at it??
    I'm guessing you've never had to wait months to years on end in pain & suffering because the public hospital clinic is only run once a month, the rest of the time the doctor is treating patients in their private rooms at $300-500 a visit....
    People like me, & others who rely on the public hospital system, are the less fortunate, & should be helped out before doctors go off on taxpayer funded trips to overpopulated places....
    Lizzie
    2nd Dec 2017
    2:28pm
    I think this is a ridiculous perk. How was such a thing decided? There should be transparency about such decisions and the reasons for them. Maybe an economy fare under strict conditions may be OK but certainly not business class. Put the money into hospitals instead. As a teacher I have had to pay for much of my own ongoing professional development and paid for trips to help the less fortunate out of my own pocket.
    Lizzie
    2nd Dec 2017
    2:28pm
    I think this is a ridiculous perk. How was such a thing decided? There should be transparency about such decisions and the reasons for them. Maybe an economy fare under strict conditions may be OK but certainly not business class. Put the money into hospitals instead. As a teacher I have had to pay for much of my own ongoing professional development and paid for trips to help the less fortunate out of my own pocket.
    Lizzie
    2nd Dec 2017
    2:29pm
    I think this is a ridiculous perk. How was such a thing decided? There should be transparency about such decisions and the reasons for them. Maybe an economy fare under strict conditions may be OK but certainly not business class. Put the money into hospitals instead. As a teacher I have had to pay for much of my own ongoing professional development and paid for trips to help the less fortunate out of my own pocket.

    2nd Dec 2017
    2:43pm
    What is a 'dime'? A typo I think for 'time' but it still does not make much sense.
    Otherwise I can't see why business class should be paid for by the State or Commonwealth, only economy after appropriate approval for the main purpose of the trip.

    2nd Dec 2017
    2:44pm
    What is a 'dime'? A typo I think for 'time' but it still does not make much sense.
    Otherwise I can't see why business class should be paid for by the State or Commonwealth, only economy after appropriate approval for the main purpose of the trip.
    Eddy
    2nd Dec 2017
    3:46pm
    Seems a bit rich for politicians to complain about anyone, other than a fellow politician, taking advantage of travel entitlements at public expense. Doctors, and other health professionals, are required by the Australian Health Professionals Registration Authority to participate in professional development programs. in many cases these programs are interstate or even overseas. While each case should be judged on it's merits, and I suspect it is, I suggest that such travel is more than justified. For instance I know some doctors travel to USA to gain experience in treating gunshot wounds, not many places to get such experience in Australioa.

    2nd Dec 2017
    4:08pm
    Very slow website acceptance of input of 'post comment', hence multiple postings when comment does not seem to have been sent so one presses the button again.

    2nd Dec 2017
    4:08pm
    Very slow website acceptance of input of 'post comment', hence multiple postings when comment does not seem to have been sent so one presses the button again.
    Julian
    3rd Dec 2017
    1:45pm
    They earn enough. Let them all pay their own way.

    Parasites.


    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles