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MP’s Attack Nasty And Offensive For Professionals

MEDIA STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,
MONDAY 23 AUGUST 2004

MP’s Attack Nasty And Offensive For Health Professionals

''The public attack by National Party Health spokesperson Judith Collins over extra pay for working on public holidays is a nasty and offensive attack on health professionals,'' said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today. Ms Collins claims that the extra pay now provided under the new Holidays Act is the ‘Government’s political back-scratching of the unions’ and that patients are ‘subsidising the Government’s union payback.’

“This denigration is most unfair. On those few public holidays each year, such as Christmas and New Year, where politicians like Ms Collins are able to spend time with their family and friends, there will always be senior doctors and other health professionals denied this right because they will be looking after patients and coping with emergencies. To pay them a little extra on these rare occurrences while Ms Collins and most other New Zealanders enjoy their festive celebrations and family time is not unreasonable.”

“The impact of the Holidays Act was always going to be more significant for the health system, especially public hospitals, because it is the largest 24-hour, 7-day emergency service in the country.”

“Ms Collins should be applauding health professionals for undertaking critical work on public holidays rather than running down their pay and scare-mongering over patient services,” concluded Mr Powell.

Ian Powell

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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