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SDHB Chairman slams Southland media coverage

Wednesday 9 April 2008

Chairman slams Southland media coverage of junior doctor negotiations

SDHB's Chairman Dennis Cairns has slammed the media coverage by the Southland Times today, saying the reporters had indulged themselves in a campaign of industrial relations to further junior doctors' pay claims whilst misleading the public to believe that there was a crisis of services at the Southland Hospital.

"Clearly there is no news happening in Southland, so the Southland Times has had to create a crisis to sell their newspaper," Mr Cairns said.

"Their so called 'investigative reporters' have lifted the curtains on the obvious - that there is a junior doctor industrial relations campaign taking place.

"What has been reported is quite clearly being driven by a junior doctor industrial relations campaign to further their remuneration yet again.

"Southland Hospital is not in crisis. Issues of safety have been clearly refuted by the DHB's clinical staff yet the newspaper still chose to profile the claims of a single doctor and use alarming, scaremongering headlines.

"These headlines using the word 'crisis' undermine the public's confidence in the hospital - they also underestimate the public's level of intelligence.

"Nobody is denying that we have issues of recruitment and retention - this is not new, nor is it related to Southland only. The fact that Southland vacancies represent just 4% of the total staff seems to go over the reporters' heads, who are determined to lead the public into thinking that 60 vacancies is a 'crisis'.

"Recruitment efforts by our staff are being denegrated by such coverage and do not assist in attracting people to the region.

"Southlanders receive high quality care by a dedicated staff who go above and beyond to support this community, despite times of staff shortages and the denegrading media coverage by this newspaper. "


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