Night shifts took a toll on his home life ... Dr Jeremy Cumpston at his Randwick surgery. Photo: Steven Siewert
Dozens have been sued, felt harassed to work longer hours or otherwise fallen foul of Australia's richest doctor. By Natasha Wallace.Edited by S W Read
Like many doctors with a growing family, Jeremy Cumpston sold his practice and went to a large, seven-day medical centre because, put simply, he needed the cash.
Just four years on, he is now facing certain bankruptcy and his marriage is over from the strain of a David and Goliath legal battle with Idameneo, the company that manages the Darlinghurst Medical Centre.(We believe Primary Health Care is part of the same group).
That is the same company that manages the Phillip Health Centre in Canberra we believe.
Eighteen months after he sold the Rushcutters Bay surgery to Idameneo for $300,000 and agreeing to give it 50 per cent of his earnings for five years, Dr Cumpston pleaded to work less night shifts due to the toll on his home life - his wife had just had their second baby.
He was refused so he remortgaged his house and bought another practice in Randwick and went "cap in hand" to buy his way out.
The company sued him for damages and for 50 per cent of his earnings at Randwick, claiming it is within 6.5 kilometres of the Darlinghurst centre in breach of his contract.This clause in their contract is sometimes overlooked by doctors who are lured by the cash offered up front.
He has four children and his marriage broken down, he is living on a couch …'' Dr Cumpston told the NSW Supreme Court recently.
''The plaintiff has seen my income, he knows I don't have anything. I don't understand why the plaintiff is doing this. He won't win anything, he will destroy me, which is what he said he wanted to do.''
He is referring to is Edmund Bateman, Australia's richest doctor.
The powerful no-nonsense founder and managing director of Idameneo's parent company, Primary Health Care, arguably the country's pioneer in the corporatisation and destruction personalised GP care.
Is this the future of health care in Australia?