EXECUTIVE 18 July 2018
Dear Member,

This is the third Executive Direct for 2018, reporting on a recent meeting of your National Executive held in Wellington on 21 June. We normally send members an Executive Direct after each Executive meeting and also put these on our website (www.asms.nz). The Executive will next meet on 30 August.

The Executive discussed the Government’s review of the health and disability sectors, a possible amendment to the ASMS Constitution, planning for the Association’s 30th anniversary next year, the upcoming ASMS Branch Officers’ national workshop, issues arising from the latest national Joint Consultation Committee meeting, organisation of this year’s Annual Conference, and the progress of various non-DHB collective negotiations.

Government’s review of the health and disability sectors

Health Minister David Clark has announced a wide-ranging review designed to future-proof the public health system. He has indicated there will be a strong focus on primary and community-based care. The review presents opportunities for ASMS to highlight issues important to members, but it may also present some challenges which the Association may wish to draw the Government’s attention to. In a positive move, the Minister has requested submissions on draft terms of reference for the review.

The Government wants the review to identify changes that could improve the performance, structure and fairness of the sector. The overall purpose is to provide recommendations to the Government for an equitable, sustainable public health service that delivers the health care New Zealanders expect and deserve. In particular, the review has been charged with examining the impact of demographic and inflationary pressures on the health service and the resources required, as a result of those pressures, to deliver services into the future.

The ASMS National Executive discussed the upcoming review and the terms of reference, and agreed that the national office would prepare a submission on the draft terms of reference for the Executive to consider. While the review was welcomed, there was some concern that it might focus on structural change or be used to delay addressing critical needs such as capacity in the specialist workforce, and achieving distributed clinical leadership.

Constitutional amendment considered: co-option to the National Executive

The National Executive considered whether to propose an amendment to the Constitution to allow it to co-opt other Association members onto the Executive. If the Executive had decided to propose this, then it would have to be circulated to branches well in advance of the Annual Conference. Constitutional amendments must be approved by 70% of the ‘registered representatives present and voting’ (Clause 27 of the ASMS Constitution).

There were a number of questions for the Executive to consider, including when it might need to consider co-opting someone onto the Executive, what rights that person would have, who they would represent, and how long they would be on the Executive.

After some discussion and reflection, the Executive decided that there was no need to amend the Constitution to enable co-option because other ways of representing the interests of the Association’s diverse membership existed, which it could draw on. It agreed to report back on this matter to the Annual Conference.

Marking the Association’s 30th birthday

Next year (2019) will be the Association’s 30 year of existence, having been formed on 1 April 1989. The Executive has expressed interest in marking the occasion in some way, and discussed this further at their meeting.

As a result, the Executive passed the following two recommendations:

  1. That the National Executive support the holding of a special conference in 2019 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Association based on Appendix 2019/65. Final approval of the programme, timing and other arrangements is delegated to the National President in consultation with the Executive Director.
  2. That the National Executive include in its budget for the 2019-20 financial year a specific allocation for this special conference.

More details of the special conference will be forthcoming in the months ahead, but it will be similar in format to the special conference held to celebrate the Association’s 25th birthday. Subsequently it has been confirmed that the special conference will be held on Thursday 27 June 2019 in Wellington.

ASMS Branch Officers’ workshop and 2018 Annual Conference

The annual national workshop for ASMS branch officers (Presidents and Vice Presidents or proxies) will be held in Wellington on 31 August. The Executive discussed the programme for the workshop. This is yet to be finalised but will include presentations on the Minister of Health’s review on the health and disability sector as discussed above, branch officer roles, the ‘Know your MECA’ workshops, appointment committees and branch meetings, as well as a range of other presentations and discussions on ‘burning issues’ relevant to members.

The Executive also discussed preparations for this year’s Annual Conference, including topics and speakers.

National Joint Consultation Committee meeting

The Executive considered an update on the most recent national Joint Consultation Committee (JCC) meeting between unions and DHB chief executives and senior managers, held in Wellington in April. ASMS was represented at this meeting by Executive members Murray Barclay, Julian Fuller, Hein Stander, Angela Freschini and Julian Vyas, along with ASMS Executive Director Ian Powell and Deputy Executive Director Angela Belich.

Matters discussed at the meeting included the ‘High Performance High Engagement’ initiative, the Minister of Health’s letter of expectations to DHBs, concerns about Health Workforce New Zealand, and issues to do with RMO rosters.

Non-DHB bargaining

The Executive was updated on progress in negotiations for a range of non-DHB collective employment agreements. The Association now has approximately 240 non-DHB members, and this number is continuing to increase.

International conferences

The Executive Director provided an update to the Executive on his attendance at the Marburger Bund (German doctors union) and German Medical Association general assemblies in Erfurt, as well as further meetings in the UK with researchers, policy advisors and representatives from the British Medical Association, Medical Protection Society and the Trade Union Congress. The value of these conferences in terms of information gained and connections made was emphasised.

The Executive approved his attendance at the third international conference of doctor unions in Portugal followed by the World Medical Association Assembly in Iceland in late September and early October.

Kind regards,

Ian Powell