National 16 March 2018
Dear Member,

Welcome to the 5th issue for 2018 of ASMS Direct, our national electronic publication.

You can also keep in touch with the latest news and views on health issues relevant to public hospital specialists via our website, which contains links (at the top of the home page) to our Facebook and LinkedIn pages, as well as our quarterly magazine The Specialist. We’re also on Twitter at

Make your vote count in the Medical Council election

Not long to go now until voting closes for the Medical Council election – and a plea from Council Chair Andrew Connolly to vote, if you haven’t already.

In a message to ASMS members and others, he says:

“As you may know voting is currently underway in the Medical Council election to select four candidates for appointment for a three year term to Council. I believe that it is important that we all participate in the election and collectively take ownership of the future direction of Council by voting.

All the candidates standing offer the profession and Council should they get elected a wide range of skills and experience.

Voting ends at noon on Friday, 23 March 2018 so if you haven’t already voted, I would urge to do so now and vote online while there is still time.”

ASMS echoes that reminder to vote – it was a hard-won right and we encourage you all to exercise it. The full list of confirmed candidates is available online at

National Executive elections: A reminder to Region 1 and 4 members

Another election is also underway, this time for members in regions 1 and 4 who are voting for their representatives on the ASMS National Executive.

Three nominations were received in each of those regions for two positions. The candidates are:
Region 1:

  • Julian Vyas (paediatrics, Auckland)
  • Jennifer Henry (anaesthesia, Northland)
  • Andrew Ewens (emergency medicine, Waitemata).

Region 4:

  • Seton Henderson (intensive care, Canterbury)
  • Alastair (Craig) Carr (anaesthesia, Southern)
  • Catherine (Katie) Ben (anaesthesia, Nelson Marlborough).

The closing date for voting is 4.30pm on Tuesday 27 March.

The other positions on the National Executive have been confirmed:

  • National President Murray Barclay (gastroenterologist, Canterbury)
  • Vice-President Julian Fuller (anaesthetist, Waitemata)
  • Immediate Past-President Hein Stander (paediatrician, Tairawhiti)
  • Region 2 representatives – Paul Wilson (anaesthetist, Bay of Plenty) and Annette van Zeist-Jongman (psychiatry, Waikato)
  • Region 3 representatives – Tim Frendin (geriatric medicine, Hawke’s Bay) and Angela Freschini (anaesthesia, Tairawhiti).

The new National Executive will take office on Wednesday 1 April for a three-year term. The first meeting of the new Executive will be on 11-12 April in Wellington.

Shamefully short deadline for scrutiny of trade deal

The absurdly short deadline for submissions on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPATPP) – formerly known as the TPPA – shows the Government is not serious about scrutinising the deal properly.

Parliament has called for submissions by 28 March, allowing just a fortnight for people and organisations with significant concerns about the deal to put their case to the political decision-makers. This is shameful, frankly, given the potential ramifications of the deal on health policy and delivery in New Zealand.

It also looks as if Labour is backpedalling on its previous support for an independent health impact assessment of the deal, which is not a good look for a new government.

As we said in our media release, if the Government gets this wrong, it will be patient care and communities that suffer – and that’s a hell of a risk to take without a proper assessment.  The full risks for our health system are heavily depended on the consistency, durability and re-electability of Donald Trump!! (

Did you know…about salary increases?

With effect from 5 March 2018, all ASMS members will be getting salary increases for both the specialist and medical/dental officers’ scales. We are reminding all DHBs about these increases in the current round of JCCs and thus far all DHBs have indicated that the processes are in place to ensure that the increases are paid. You should check your payslip though!

Further, for those of you who have been on the top step of the current scales for at least 12 months on 5 March 2018, you will be eligible to advance to the first additional step on this date (step 14 for Medical and Dental Specialists and step 13 for Medical and Dental Officers). Again, we have been assured by the DHBs that the processes are in place to ensure this occurs, but you should still check your payslip.

Those who have been on the top step for less than 12 months on 5 March 2018, will be eligible to advance to the new step on their usual anniversary date. For example, if you advanced to the current top step on 1 May 2017, you will advance to the new additional step on 1 May 2018.

Kind regards,

Ian Powell