National 17 December 2020
Kia ora

What a year!

I can’t decide whether roller coasters or dumpster fires work better as metaphors, but either way we are all ready for a rest. We know that many of you will continue to work through Christmas and New Year, and that those of you who work in holiday hot spots are likely to be busier than ever.

To all of you – whether working, playing, or simply flat out resting - thank you so, so much for your commitment to the team of five million. While Covid has highlighted work that is frequently unnoticed and unacknowledged, we know that all of you, no matter what your specialty, designation, or location, bring critical knowledge, skills and care to the people who need it. Here at ASMS we look forward to being ready to roll in 2021 and what promises to be another busy year with MECA bargaining, the implementation of the Simpson Review, and the ongoing day-to-day challenges of getting our health system to a place where it provides safe, sustainable work for senior doctors and dentists, and best care for patients.

And remember – ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi; engari, he toa takitini – success is the work of many, we do our best work together.

Building the Workforce Pipeline Stopping the Drain

ASMS has produced a report which looks at the specialist workforce pipeline from medical school intakes through to retirement. The Building the Workforce Pipeline Stopping the Drain report was launched at last month’s Annual Conference. It says action on workforce planning is urgently needed to tackle specialist shortages which are creating stress and burnout for members. We also need solutions to tackle our ageing workforce and make it more representative of the people who live in Aotearoa. The report brings together existing data on the specialist workforce and includes a range of recommendations and actions. We will be talking more about these issues at the first round of JCCs early next year. You can read it and download it here.

ASMS National Executive elections

Please look out for our Special Circular that calls for nominations for our National Executive. It should arrive in your inbox by the close of business on 18 December. There will also be a copy available on our website from next week. Nominations close on 19 February 2021.

CME and Covid restrictions

Using CME while there are still Covid travel restrictions in place has thrown up a number of issues which are likely to continue well into next year. We have drawn up a preliminary discussion document for members and DHBs as a rough guide to help with CME planning and access. It is still very much a work in progress, and we are keen to get feedback and input from members.  Please read it here and email with your suggestions using CME in the subject line.

Next year’s JCC dates

We have now confirmed JCC dates for next year for all DHBs. Please take a look here and put the dates in your diaries. We will continue to offer a Zoom option at all the meetings, as we know it works well for many of you. There are also going to be a couple of “zoom only” meetings – we’ll send you more information closer to the time. We also encourage you to sign up for JCC invites and updates by writing to

Annual Conference 2020

We had a lively and engaging Annual Conference this year with 175 people attending and more joining virtually. We welcomed an interesting range of speakers who presented on topics such as the workforce pipeline, our equity kaupapa, and CME in the post-Covid era. We also heard from doctors who have become well-established authors and how they juggle their daytime jobs with their creative passion. Videos of some of the sessions are now up on our website here.

The new Health Minister Andrew Little was also welcomed to the Conference. He addressed delegates, acknowledging he had a lot to learn in his new role, while also outlining some of his key priorities. Watch his presentation here and read ASMS’ press release in response to his speech - Health Minister priorities welcomed.

Sustainability resolutions passed

Two resolutions proposed from the floor of the Conference were passed. They came from Counties Manukau DHB members Dr Clinton Pinto and Dr Rob Burrell, respectively.

That ASMS strongly advocate for all DHBs to join Toitū Envirocare.

That ASMS advocate for the establishment of a national Sustainable Development Unit to coordinate and accelerate the health sector’s journey to become carbon neutral by 2040.

Calling all doctor/artists

We are calling for expressions of interest from artistic and creative members who would like their art to be exhibited in a formal art show at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts in Wellington in November next year. The “Artists who Doctor” exhibition will be curated by the Academy, featuring art works specifically by doctors. Artwork can include ceramics, sculpture, paintings, photography, or jewellery. The exhibition opening would coincide with the 2021 ASMS Annual Conference. The Academy is keen to host the exhibition but before we can make any firm plans, we need to know if there is enough interest to make it viable. If you would like to take part or want to find out more, please contact our senior industrial officer Lloyd Woods at

Medical Council elections

Nominations for the Te Kaunihera Rata o Aotearoa Medical Council of New Zealand elections are now open. The Medical Council is looking for four registered doctors to join the Board to work with it to ensure public safety and good medical practice. Nominations close on 22 January 2021. Visit to find out more.

Holiday reading

The final edition of The Specialist for 2020 will be out before Christmas.  There is some good holiday reading. We share the results from our first bi-annual membership survey, discuss the prospect of DHB mergers, meet members doing interesting work, and report back on all the happenings from Annual Conference including plenty of photos. We hope you can find some time to read and enjoy it.

Nō reira tēnā rā tatou katoa

Sarah Dalton