DOCTORS who have not been paid wages by Tristar Medical Group may not be able to simply quit their positions and move to other jobs, the Australian Medical Association has warned.
The group, which has clinics at Kangaroo Flat, Eaglehawk and Epsom, entered voluntary administration last week after creditors took the company to court and applied for a wind up order.
"They are a pretty vulnerable group," an AMA spokesman said.
"Those working for Tristar are predominantly international medical graduates and they are here on visas and they need the business to sponsor them while they are in Australia."
The full scale of the company's financial pain, including debts owed to staff and doctors in unpaid wages and superannuation, is still being calculated by McGrathNicol administrators. It has chosen to keep the clinics open while a buyer can be found for the group.
Administrator Matthew Caddy said people who worked from last Wednesday onwards would be paid by the administrator.
He said however, the possibility of back pay for wages and missing superannuation payments would not be determined until the administration period was finished.
The AMA spokesperson said the best outcome for those doctors would be for the business to be sold or become financially sound so they could continue in their jobs.
"It's not an easy process for them to up sticks and go to another job because they also need to apply to the medical board to allow them to move to another employer," he said.
Rural Doctors Association of Australia chief executive Peta Rutherford said many doctors would be in the position of having moved their partner and children to Australia and would be concerned about making complaints to the authorities.
"The big issue we have uncovered is with the employment visa," she said.
"If the doctor comes forward early and the (Fair Work Australia) Ombudsman knocks at the door - the doctor becomes worried that the visa will be cancelled and they will be sent home.
"Australian doctors, by contrast, tend to come forward much more quickly if they are not being paid correctly. They ring us or the AMA up and we would chase it up."
Ms Rutherford said overseas trained doctors needed a better safety net while they were working in Australia.
"More broadly than Tristar Medical Group - across the board - we believe this model of employing a lot of overseas trained doctors and bulk billing a high patient throughput is unsustainable going forward," she said.
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