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Joint media release re RMO changes in Ak hospitals

Joint Media Release
29 October 2009

Joint media release re RMO changes in Auckland hospitals

Twenty new Resident Medical Officer (RMO) positions are to be created across the three Auckland District Health Boards (Auckland, Waitemata & Counties/Manukau) as part of a coordinated effort to shift resource toward areas with the greatest need and improve training opportunities for RMOs.

From 30 November, Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Surgery and Anaesthesia specialties will benefit from the addition of new positions across the board.

ADHB Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Margaret Wilsher, said today that in an effort to keep the total number of RMO positions aligned to funded medical graduates, 20 existing positions that the DHBs had difficulty in attracting and retaining RMOs to would be disestablished from the start of the 2010 Training Year, paving the way for the newly created roles.

“All DHBs are to benefit from the change in allocation. For example,
Counties/Manukau is to implement a new Geriatric Medicine team in order to meet long-term aging population requirements, while North Shore Hospital is to benefit in its Emergency Medicine department with the creation of five new House Officer roles,” said Dr Wilsher.

“ADHB will benefit from the creation of a number of new subspecialty roles such as Rehabilitation Medicine and two new Paediatric Intensive Care Unit positions,” she said.

Dr Wilsher said that where positions had been disestablished, either because work had transferred to another DHB, or where the roles were frequently unpopular and unfilled, the DHBs had endeavoured to reduce workload or provide services by alternative workforces. However, where alternatives had not proved feasible, hours of work had been increased within existing contractual requirements.

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“We have clearly heard the complaints about some roles not providing good training opportunities and have replaced those with roles which will provide for better training.”

Dr Wilsher said that as part of the overall change, the DHBs had also revised the hourly rates applicable to approximately 125 of the 400 locums who were not permanently employed by the DHBs.

“In August 2007 the Auckland DHBs lifted the locum rates above the national collective agreement to meet demand at a time of high vacancies. However, from the start of the new 2010 training year, due to reduced vacancy levels, the DHBs are now in a position to return casual locum rates to the nationally consistent salary band across all specialties except Registrar locums within General Medicine where the demand is still great.

“We are mindful of the tight fiscal environment and the need for DHBs to spend their dollars wisely whilst at the same time encouraging casual RMOs back into permanent employment that will progress their training and career pathways toward specialist registration,” she said.


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