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Doctors’ Right To Speak Out Will Be Defended



“Doctors’ Right To Speak Out Will Be Defended”

“The right of senior doctors to speak out will be strongly defended,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today. Mr Powell was commenting on reported verbal pressure on Kaitaia Hospital surgeon Peter Dryburgh not to speak out.

“Peter Dryburgh has outlined his concerns over patient safety in a measured manner based on his expertise experience. Any attempt to gag him is a threat to all senior doctors in all parts of the country.”

“Senior doctors such as Peter Dryburgh employed by the Northland District Health Board have an explicit right in their collective agreement to participate in public debate and dialogue on matters relevant to their professional expertise and experience. The Northland collective agreement also recognises the primacy of responsibility of senior doctors to their patients in the event that there may be a difference with their employer.”

“Attempting to gag senior doctors such as Peter Dryburgh is contrary to their rights in their collective agreement and contrary to the public interest,” concluded Mr Powell.

Ian Powell

Attachment: Northland collective agreement clauses on (1) public debate and dialogue and (2) professional and patient responsibility and accountability
Public Debate and Dialogue:

In recognition of the rights and interests of the public in the health service, employees reserve the right to enter into public debate and dialogue over matters relevant to their professional expertise and experience. Employees will undertake to advise the employer of any concerns and issues prior to entering into public debate and dialogue. In exercising this provision employees shall not breach commercial or patient confidentiality, and shall give due regard to the employer's relevant policy and to their professional and ethical codes.

Professional and Patient Responsibility and Accountability:
In recognising the responsibilities and accountabilities that the employer and employees have to each other, the parties recognise:

(a) the primacy of the personal responsibility of employees to their patients;
(b) that employees are responsible and accountable to statutory authorities established, as applicable, under the Medical Practitioners Act and Dental Act (such as the Medical and Dental Council) including their relevant policy statements and guidelines; and
(c) that employees are responsible and accountable to the ethical codes and standards of relevant professional associations.

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