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Doctors Vote Overwhelmingly To Reject DHB Proposal


MEDIA STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,
MONDAY 9 FEBRUARY 2004

“Senior Doctors Vote Overwhelmingly To Reject Dhb Proposal For National Collective Agreement Negotiations”

“Senior doctors have voted overwhelmingly by 84% to 16% to reject a proposal from district health boards to settle their protracted national collective agreement negotiations,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today. Mr Powell was reporting on the results of a recently completed secret postal ballot of senior doctors in 20 of the 21 DHBs (excluding Northland).

“This ballot result represents total rejection of the DHBs’ proposal because of its massive size and because it was decisively rejected in every single DHB. The massive rejection was despite the fact that we circulated with the ballot papers material provided by the DHBs arguing why they believed senior doctors should accept their proposal.”

“It is clear that senior doctors overwhelmingly rejected the DHBs’ proposal because it failed in any reasonable way to address the serious recruitment and retention difficulties facing senior doctor positions and because it was too little over too long a period of time.”

“It is unfortunate that after the more than nine months since these negotiations for senior doctors first commenced, we are still well apart. It will be a very difficult industrial year if these negotiations run into both the forthcoming resident doctors’ and the nurses’ negotiations expected in the middle of the year. There is a risk of anarchy in employment relations if DHBs continue to misunderstand the needs of their health professionals.”

“These national senior doctor negotiations commenced in late April last year and are still a long way from resolution. They will not be settled until DHBs regard senior doctors as the human asset that is the glue that holds so much of the health service together rather than a ‘bean-counting’ balance sheet liability. We hope that DHBs will move faster than the pace of a snail to come to this realisation,” concluded Mr Powell.

Ian Powell
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Note:
1100 senior doctors participated in the ballot (51% response rate), which was conducted at an awkward time over the summer break, with 924 (84%) voting to reject and 176 (16%) voting to accept it. Northland senior doctors were not included because in an earlier ballot late last year they voted not to participate in the national negotiations. The DHBs and the Association will return to mediation in Wellington this week on 12-13 February.


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