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Govt’s Employment Law Changes Threaten Hospitals

“Government’s Proposed Employment Law Changes Threaten Public Hospitals”

“The government’s proposed changes to employment law threaten the stability of our public hospitals and, as a result, patient care,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today. Mr Powell was referring to the reported proposal to extend the application of the current right of employers to dismiss without justification new employees within 90 days to all employers, not just those with up to 20 employees.

“The impact on public hospitals where New Zealand already has a senior doctor workforce recruitment crisis could be devastating. New Zealand has the highest dependency on recruiting overseas trained doctors among economically developed nations (OECD). What sensible hospital specialist in Britain, for example, would take the risk of shifting career, home and family to the other side of the world in the knowledge that they risk dismissal without justification within their first 90 days?”

“We have had experience of senior doctors recruited to New Zealand only to discover that the resources and support they understood would be provided were not. Not surprisingly they raise their concerns, especially over the implications for the quality of patient care. In some cases this becomes the source of tension with management. These doctors run the risk of being branded ‘trouble makers’ and being sacked with no right of challenge. This is both unfair and stupid.”

“The government’s proposal would also most likely increase the loss of our registrars (junior doctors training to be specialists) to Australia. This drain to Australia is already unacceptably high and will only get worse under this proposal. What young doctor is likely to seek a specialist position in New Zealand when they can go to Australia for greater employment security and earn salaries at least a third higher?”

“The government needs to put common sense and fairness ahead of ideology and bin this foolish proposal before it damages the reputation of public hospitals,” concluded Mr Powell.


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