The AMA says doctors are being “muzzled” in the public system.

Australian Medical Association (AMA) chief Dr Michael Gannon says; “The rise of managerialism and bureaucracy in delivering healthcare and the fact [governments] have not invested in public hospitals” creates serious problems.

He said all tiers of government are failing to direct funding where it was most needed.

“Budgets announce record spending on hospitals but no money goes into addressing shortfalls where they exist,” Dr Gannon said.

“The culture of managerialism we’ve seen grow over the past 20 years is of concern to everyone. We have seen administration grow from an office to an entire hospital block. There is enormous pressure on everyone in the system including managers but the reality is this puts a lot of pressure on clinicians on the coalface.

“So when doctors raise concerns about patient care, they get muzzled. I am talking about corporate bullying, those who are silencing concerns about the care patients might be receiving, because there is such pressure on budgets and performance targets and getting patients out [of beds].

Queensland health minister Steven Miles said doctors are not fleeing public hospitals to work in the private system.

“Given public hospital activity is increasing at a greater rate than private hospital activity, it seems highly unlikely that there is an exodus of public hospital doctors to the private sector,” he said.

Dr Gannon said it is happening nationwide, over time.

“This is an issue members talk about nationally and it does exist in Queensland health as it exists in other jurisdictions,” he said.

“These issues haven’t happened on one minister’s watch, it is a culture that has developed over the past 20 years and partly reflects rise of managerialism and bureaucracy in delivering healthcare.”