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Health Bosses Pin-Pricking Attitude To NCA Negs.


“Senior Doctors Disappointed With Health Bosses Pin-Pricking Attitude To National Collective Agreement Negotiations”

“Senior doctors are very disappointed with the attitude of health bosses to the national district health board collective agreement negotiations,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today. National negotiations with DHBs this week (29 April-1 May) in Wellington and will continue on 11-12 June.

“Senior doctors hoped that these negotiations could play a critical positive role in developing an effective recruitment and retention strategy so that New Zealand can continue to maintain and improve its quality public health service. We also hoped that the negotiations might help turn-around the low morale among senior doctors and restore their confidence in the direction of the public health system.”

“Instead we were very disappointed with a minimalist pin-pricking approach that fell into the classic trap of obsessing over cost and power and ignoring value. Ironically this negative approach was over matters that do not cost money but if approached positively could have helped generate goodwill.”

“DHBs have also foolishly attempted to claw-back some employment conditions, something that senior doctors have not experienced much since the worst days of the former Employment Contracts Act in the early1990s. Attempting to cut conditions is an unachievable and counter-productive objective that can only serve to sour relations.”

“Some useful progress was made on some matters and it was understood in advance by both parties that fiscal issues such as salaries would not be dealt with this week. But DHBs could still have come in with a positive approach and used these negotiations to improve recruitment and retention and to improve morale and confidence. Sadly the opportunity was lost.”

“If DHB bosses are genuine about their claims that they value the work and commitment of senior doctors in the public health system, then they should allow and encourage their negotiating team to reflect instead of contradict this when negotiations resume next week,” concluded Mr Powell.

Ian Powell

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