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Government must protect the right of senior doctors to speak

“Any new State Sector Act must protect the right of senior doctors to speak publicly on matters that pose a risk to patient safety or the public health system,” says Angela Belich, Deputy Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).

She was commenting on the Government’s review of the way the public service operates (https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/joined-more-convenient-services-reach-public-service-reform-plan), which is the subject of an article in the latest issue of the ASMS magazine, The Specialist (https://www.asms.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/12089-The-Specialist-Issue-116-WEB.pdf, p15).

“Senior doctors and dentists have a long history of raising issues publicly that risk compromising the quality of patient care,” says Angela Belich.

“For example, in the 1990s they courageously spoke in defence of the public health system when it was under threat, and they continue to speak out when issues arise that jeopardise the care they are giving their patients and communities.

“They are highly trained, expert health professionals who are at the forefront of publicly-funded health care and we believe they have an obligation to speak out. It is to their credit that they do so, in the interests of patient care, even when coming under attack.”

Ms Belich says the right to speak out is legally protected, and ASMS expects that to continue to be the case under any new legislation.


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