NATIONAL 12 February 2019
Dear Member,

Welcome to the 4th 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

Recovery time

Preventing and dealing with fatigue is a reality for ASMS members. We are aware of your concerns about the pressure to deliver the best possible health care with fewer resources, including adequate SMO staffing, and the resulting impact on the health, resilience and work-life balance of senior doctors and dentists.

Issues related to fatigue and burnout of SMOs were a key area of discussion in the last MECA negotiations, and resulted in the inclusion of a powerful clause in the MECA relating to recovery time.

Clause 13.6 says:

“By the expiry of this agreement, services that operate an after-hours call roster are expected to have agreed arrangements in place that allow an employee to have an adequate break without deduction from full pay before commencing work following periods of on-call related work where the employee is too fatigued to safely undertake their next scheduled activity.”

ASMS has published an Advice document for members, describing this clause, key points about fatigue, call holidays, and recovery time agreements and how to develop them. I encourage you to read the Advice at

Please contact your ASMS Industrial Officer if you have any questions about recovery time. ASMS will be raising this issue in our Joint Consultation Committees in each of the 20 DHBs.

RDA issues notice of fourth strike

RMOs employed by DHBs have voted for a fourth 48-hour strike commencing 7am Tuesday 26 February:

Members are encouraged to read ASMS advice on the strike action, which we published last month:

Please contact your relevant ASMS Industrial Officer if you have any queries about your obligations and rights during the strike.

Share your views

The Government’s health review team is inviting feedback and views on a range of questions to do with New Zealand’s health and disability system, and ASMS encourages you to have input. Questions cover the values underpinning a future public health and disability system, system-level changes to improve equity, and priorities for system-level change.

The full list of questions is available at

Did you know…

… about full pay annual leave entitlements following return from parental leave?

Unlike most employees who only get paid a proportion of normal pay for annual leave in the year after parental leave, if you are employed on the ASMS DHB MECA you are entitled to annual leave on full pay after you return from parental leave.

Clause 23 of the DHB MECA provides for annual leave on full pay – not the averaging formula used in the Holidays Act:

This carries over to Clause 28 of the MECA that also entitles you, after parental leave, to return to the same or a similar position you held prior to the leave:

Kind regards,

Ian Powell