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NZRDA disappointed that mediation ended "abruptly"

12th September 2016

NZRDA disappointed that mediation ended “quickly and abruptly”

NZRDA attended mediation with the DHBs today to try and resolve the MECA dispute which has centred on safer hours for the doctors.

Mediation opened with NZRDA again reiterating the impact both 7 consecutive 10 hour night shifts and 12 consecutive day shifts of up to 16 hours (with only 2 days off before returning to work) is having on doctors and their ability to effectively care for patients. Whilst the DHBs accepted the concerns as genuine, they were only prepared to address the issue of 7 consecutive night shifts.

“The DHBs said they could move to no more than 4 consecutive 10 hour night shifts over the next 2 years, but were not prepared to address the 12 consecutive day shift rosters,” says Dr Deborah Powell, National Secretary of NZRDA, “Whilst at least a step in the right direction, making doctors safer at night but not during the day fails way short of what is needed to keep doctors and patients safe.”

Both roster patterns are a risk to doctors and patients alike. “The 12 days stretches see doctors working 110 hours over 12 days, up to 10 hours a day and on 2 days up to 16 hours. They only have 2 days off before returning to work again” said Dr Powell. “This roster pattern is as unsafe as the night pattern and both need to be fixed.”

NZRDA is also concerned the DHBs proposed taking two years to improve just the night rosters.

“The employer’s team had no authority to discuss further and adjourned before lunch to seek further instruction. They also refused to stay and discuss a few minor issues we had hoped to clear away.” says Dr Powell. NZRDA believes that the bargaining process the DHBs are using where they appear to have to return to home base to decide on what to do each step of the way, is severely hampering bargaining and increasingly fuelling tension between the parties.

“Yet again we are delayed whilst the employers adjourn to consider the self-explanatory question of doctor safety that has been the key subject at the bargaining table for some 9 months.” Say Dr Powell. The employers have committed to respond further no later than 23 September.

NZRDA will be reporting back to its members and seeking further advice on what next.



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