NATIONAL 4 September 2018
Dear Member,

Welcome to the 14th 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

Critically serious SMO staffing shortages in DHBs identified

ASMS surveys of clinical leaders within district health boards are continuing to highlight and identify critically serious shortfalls in SMO staffing.

To date ASMS has surveyed clinical leaders at Canterbury, Counties Manukau, Nelson Marlborough, Capital & Coast, MidCentral and Hawke’s Bay district health boards. The results highlight a significant deficit, including a large gap between shortages and formal vacancies, which helps explain the high level of burnout, presenteeism and job dissatisfaction among members. More surveys are planned.

Full reports of these surveys are available at, and the results are summarised in Figure 1 below .

Figure 1: Estimated SMO staffing shortfall as a percentage of current staffing allocations

When they are ranked from 1 to 6 with 1 being in the worst position they are:

    DHB                                                      SMO Shortages
1. Capital & Coast and MidCentral      27%
3. Canterbury                                          25%
4. Hawke’s Bay                                        22%
5. Counties Manukau                            18%
6. Nelson Marlborough                         17%

Call for nominations for HQSC committees

An opportunity you might be interested in – the Health Quality & Safety Commission is seeking a new member to join the Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee (PMMRC) and also the Maternal Mortality Review Working Group (MMRWG).

Nominations for both vacancies close at 5pm on Friday 14 September.

More information about the work of both committees, the expertise sought, and the nomination process is available in the following links:


Did you know … about Joint Consultation Committees?

ASMS organises Joint Consultation Committee (JCC) meetings three times a year with your DHB’s management team. These meetings are established under the MECA. They are a good chance to put issues that matter to you and your colleagues in front of the chief executive and senior managers. We always discuss things that are topical and relevant to your work as an SMO, and we greatly value your input at these meetings.

Please contact your ASMS Branch Officer or Membership Officer Saasha Everiss at for more information about your next JCC meeting.

Kind regards,

Ian Powell