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Settlement With Junior Doctors Heralds New Way

Media Statement
Tuesday 12 December, 2006

Settlement With Junior Doctors Heralds New Way of Working

District Health Boards and Junior Doctors will be meeting to discuss how to improve working conditions – this time the meeting is not under threat of strike.

Junior Doctors staged an unprecedented five-day national strike when DHBs proposed a joint DHB/doctor body to trial new ways of working.

DHB spokesman, Dr Nigel Murray, says he’s now trying to set up the first meeting of the joint group under the Memorandum of Understanding that was agreed.

“The agenda for the first meeting is now being drawn up and includes trials of new rosters to meet one of the junior doctors’ main claims during the negotiations – we’ll also be discussing a DHB paper on improving staffing for hospitals at night.

“One thing overlooked during the dispute is that junior doctors in NZ have some of the best working conditions in the world – there are still areas to improve, and now we have a mechanism to discuss them outside the cycle of confrontation that normally surrounds pay talks.”

Dr Murray says DHBs are delighted with the deal but disappointed the health system was unnecessarily disrupted to get it. The settlement package was available before the strike which did nothing but disrupt the health care of 20,000 people.

DHBs had some bottom lines going into these in these negotiations says Dr Murray, and all were achieved:

­ The joint DHB/doctor body (MoU) with 50:50 representation

­ Staying within a 3% budget

­ No more restrictions on the employment agreement

“What this does show is that strike action is not the way to settle disputes. DHBs will resist industrial pressure and unions who see strikes as a substitute for meaningful talks need to think again.”


ENDS

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