NATIONAL 16 August 2019
Dear Member,

Welcome to the 12th issue for 2019 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

Distributed Clinical Leadership survey

ASMS has conducted its third survey on distributed clinical leadership (DCL) and the preliminary findings are disappointingly similar to our previous DCL surveys.

We are taking issue with DHBs for the lack of progress since our first survey in 2013, and will continue to strongly advocate for our members’ potential to contribute to the health system through leadership and innovation which benefits both the accessibility and quality of standards of care for patients and the financial performance of DHBs.

The survey was conducted during late 2018 and early March. The overall final response rate was 26%, which is in line with response rates in 2013 and 2015. However, while painting an important picture of members’ views, it is a significant limitation.

There has been little change in members’ views concerning the culture of their DHB in respect of DCL. While fewer answered ‘no’ when asked if their DHB encouraged DCL, there was a slight decrease in those answering ‘yes’, and the proportion of undecideds had increased.

A sampling of the 2019 results:

  • Do you believe that the culture of your DHB encourages distributed clinical leadership: 53% said ‘no’; 24% said yes; 22% said ‘don’t know’.
  • To what extent do you believe that your Chief Executive is working to enable effective distributed clinical leadership in your DHB’s decision-making processes: 10% said to a great extent; 26% said some extent; 30% said don’t know; 35% said no extent.
  • Do you believe your DHB is genuinely committed to distributed clinical leadership in its decision-making processes: 28% said yes; 26% were unsure; 46% said no.

The best-performing DHB was South Canterbury, followed by Whanganui, and then Canterbury. Canterbury has slipped from first place in 2013 and 2015, to third place.

The four worst-performing DHBs are: Southern, Taranaki, Tairawhiti, and Wairarapa (20th).

Tairawhiti dropped from 7th to 19th and Southern from 12th to 18th in the 2019 rankings. On a positive note, Hutt Valley DHB rose from 19th in 2015 to 7th in 2019.

In 2019, we introduced a new set of questions to find out if members feel they have sufficient information about DCL and adequate opportunities for training and time to engage with DCL in practice. A third of respondents felt they had enough information about DCL but felt they had limited opportunities for training, and little time.

Of concern was the high number of members who felt unable to approach their Chief Executive or Chief Medical Officer with concerns about minimum standards. Less than half felt able to speak out to their CMO, and only a quarter felt able to discuss these with their Chief Executive.

To read a full copy of the results, published as an ASMS Snapshot, please see this link:

Registration open for the ASMS Annual Conference

You can now register your interest in attending the ASMS Annual Conference in Wellington on 28-29 November (Thursday-Friday).

The Conference will cover a range of relevant health policy and industrial issues. The programme is being finalised but Health Minister Dr David Clark has confirmed he will address the Conference again this year.

A major theme of the Conference will be preparing for our next multi-employer collective agreement (MECA) negotiations due to start early next year, with the current MECA expiring on 31 March 2020.

If you would like to register your interest for the Conference, more information is available on the ASMS website at, including details of provisions for leave, travel and accommodation. You can also contact our Support Services Administrator Angela Randall –

Did you know…. about attendance at professional meetings?

Did you know that SMOs “elected, seconded or otherwise appointed” are entitled to leave on full pay in order to attend professional meetings, including those of MOH, HPDT, medical and dental colleges, NZMA, NZDA and, of course, ASMS?  This clause also applies if you are invited to teach and/or assess trainees for your college or professional association.  SMOS may be granted leave for other bodies but these must be agreed with the employer.

Kind regards,

Ian Powell