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DHBs Looking Forward to Resuming Senior Doctors Negotiations

Media Release
27 September 2011

DHBs Looking Forward to Resuming Senior Doctors Negotiations

The 20 District Health Boards are looking forward to resuming negotiations with Senior Medical Officers (SMOs) when they meet with the doctors’ union – the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) – later this week.

The resumption of bargaining has seen the senior doctors’ union claiming the health system is in crisis, that patients are in danger, and that this can simply be resolved by a significant upfront ‘investment’ in senior doctors’ salaries.

“It is very concerning that the union is trying to convince the public that hospitals are unsafe for patients and this is because DHBs will not meet its claim for an up-front, $360 million investment in salaries,” said Graham Dyer, lead DHB Chief Executive on behalf of the DHBs.

“We are unsure our senior doctors would even agree with this analysis and it is alarming to everyone that the union links patient safety to pay negotiations. Our senior doctors are very professional in their clinical work and leadership, which is highly valued by the DHBs.

“The reality is that senior doctor vacancies are as low as they have been for some time in New Zealand and DHBs report that this situation continues to improve. This is at a time when senior doctor numbers are increasing,” Mr Dyer said.

“We know we have medical workforce issues in some services and in some areas of the country and DHBs are working co-operatively with each other and with senior doctors and other health professionals to address these problems.”

He said longer term solutions are also underway including increasing the number of doctors trained in New Zealand and changing the way services are delivered to patients.

“The union knows all this activity is going on but you would not know that from their public comments, but then good news doesn’t support pay claims. Let’s hope the union has a more positive approach when it meets the DHBs in bargaining later this week.”

A brief history of this current senior doctors bargaining process is attached.


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