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Angry, Frustrated Whakatane Specialists' Meeting

ATTENTION: HEALTH REPORTER NO. OF PAGES: 2

MEDIA STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,
MONDAY 25 AUGUST1999

“ANGRY, FRUSTRATED WHAKATANE HOSPITAL SPECIALISTS TO HOLD RARE STOPWORK MEETING"

"Angry and frustrated Whakatane hospital specialists are to hold a two-hour stopwork meeting on Wednesday 25 August starting at 2pm," said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today.

“This rare action is due to prolonged frustration building up for many years over poor employment conditions. Salaries are among the lowest in the country and working conditions are harsh because there are no registrars to provide necessary support. Working conditions are especially onerous when on emergency call rosters.”

“Whakatane specialists are feeling exhausted and stressed. The final straw came when, following the merger between Tauranga and Whakatane into Pacific Health, management adopted unnecessary delaying tactics in our collective contract negotiations. Whakatane hospital specialists want parity with their Tauranga colleagues. But they believe that they are being treated as refugees in a ‘halfway house’.”

“This is not strike action. During the stopwork meeting normal routine duties such as operating theatres and clinics will be cancelled. However, emergency cover will continue to be provided. One of the questions to be debated at the stopwork meeting is whether to take strike action if the unfairness and discrimination against Whakatane specialists continues.”

“Whakatane hospital faces a serious specialist recruitment and retention problem. This is unfair on the public who deserves high quality stable specialist health services. Our stopwork is intended to help end the inequity and discrimination that is so unfair on both hospital specialists and the public,” concluded Mr Powell.


Ian Powell
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
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