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Senior doctors call on health bosses to negotiate honourably

National Meeting of Senior doctors call on health bosses to negotiate honourably

"A national meeting of the Presidents and Vice Presidents of the ASMS's 26 branches today has called on DHB health bosses to negotiate honourably as we seek to bring our protracted national collective agreement negotiations to a conclusion," said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today.

The following resolution was adopted unanimously:

The ASMS Branch Presidents and Vice Presidents call on the DHBs to negotiate the MECA settlement based on the Business Case already agreed between the two parties.

The Business Case, jointly developed and agreed by the DHBs and ASMS last November, was to provide the basis for completing our collective agreement negotiations. "We regard it as a blueprint for improving the quality and safety of patient care and the sustainability of the hospital specialist workforce." Securing a Sustainable Senior Medical and Dental Workforce in New Zealand: the Business Case can be downloaded from

"Sadly at the end of the meeting we learnt of a dishonourable media statement made by the DHBs representative Graham Dyer which is a deliberate attempt to sabotage our negotiations. It is riddled with deceitful inaccuracies."

"For example, he falsely claims:

* We are promoting myths to support a pay claim. This statement is a lie. These so-called myths are extracts from the Business Case jointly agreed by us and the DHBs last November.

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* He claims there is not a specialist workforce crisis. But last November they agreed there was a crisis. This joint assessment was based on the best data and other information available. His statement is typical of whiteboard warrior chief executives badly out-of-touch with the realities of the clinical frontline.

* We have claimed for a 20% salary increase. Mr Dyer knows this to be untrue as we have not made any salary claim at all. The only salary offer has been made by the DHBs last May.

* He claims that the average specialist salary is $249,000. There is no evidence to justify this and none has ever been provided by them in our negotiations. If he is offering a base salary of $249,000 we would be delighted to accept it. Put up or shut up but don't tell porkies."

"Senior doctors are used to having to deal from time to time with two-faced health bosses. But dealing with multi-faced health bosses is a bit much."

"Mr Dyer's statement has caused senior doctor representatives' confidence in the integrity of health bosses to plummet. It takes us back to the toxic, destructive and unprincipled behaviour of DHB leaders in our previous negotiations which, in 2007, led senior doctors to hold unprecedented national stopwork meetings and to vote overwhelmingly for strike action in a secret ballot. Today's health bosses seem intent on repeating this behaviour."

"Despite the loss of confidence in their integrity we are determined to continue to negotiate, to report on the risks caused by the specialist workforce crisis, and to prevent the DHBs from squirming out of the negotiations. Tonight I intend to watch the television programme Underbelly in order to get a better insight into the thinking of our health bosses," concluded Mr Powell.

Ian Powell


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