EXECUTIVE 25 July 2017
Dear Member,

This is the third Executive Direct for 2017, reporting on a meeting of your ASMS National Executive on 6 April. We send members a Direct after each Executive meeting and also put these on our website: www.asms.nz. The next regular Executive meeting is scheduled for Thursday 31 August.

The meeting discussed the ASMS-DHB proposed MECA settlement, the ASMS constitutional review, the upcoming Branch Officers’ national workshop, the ‘high performance high engagement’ approach, and reports on a number of meetings. The Executive also met with Labour Party health spokesperson David Clark.

1. DHB MECA proposed settlement

The Executive Director reported on progress made in the DHB MECA negotiations. The National Executive considered a formal proposal for settlement from the DHBs and agreed to recommend settlement to members in an indicative ratification ballot. DHB-employed members have since been invited to take part in the ballot, which will close on 11 August 2017. Following the ballot, the Executive will consider the results and decide whether to ratify the proposed MECA, and this will be further reported back to you.

ASMS has reported regularly to members on the progress of the negotiations and these Bargaining Bulletins are available online at https://www.asms.org.nz/publications/bargaining-bulletin/.

Subsequent to the Executive meeting, and to support the indicative ballot of DHB-employed members who would be covered by a DHB MECA settlement, ASMS has posted a copy of the proposed MECA on our website at https://www.asms.org.nz/employment-advice/2017-dhb-meca-ballot/, along with a summary of the gains achieved in the negotiations and a letter from National President Dr Hein Stander.

At their meeting, the National Executive also expressed appreciation for the contribution and efforts of the full negotiating team who have worked hard to achieve a settlement on your behalf.

2. MAS quarterly meeting

ASMS enjoys a very good relationship with MAS and we meet quarterly with them to discuss issues of shared interest. At our most recent meeting, MAS Chief Executive Martin Stokes discussed his organisation’s progress on its ethical investment approach, which involves moving away from investments that are harmful to human health. It is also considering whether and how it might contribute to ‘good causes’ with a charitable purpose.

This was of interest to the National Executive, who agreed to invite Martin Stokes to address the ASMS Annual Conference in November on the Society’s ethical investment, and ‘good causes’ linked to health and wellbeing. Following the Conference, we will publicise the Society’s initiative in The Specialist. The Executive also decided to invite the MAS Chief Executive to the first Executive meeting following the ASMS Annual Conference for a further discussion.

3. ASMS constitutional review

The National Executive has formed a sub-group to review aspects of the ASMS Constitution. The Executive discussed progress on this review work at its June meeting.

The Executive also authorised the National President to convene a special Executive meeting in order to meet the required deadline for notifying members of proposed constitutional amendments.

4. David Clark MP

The Executive invited the Labour Party’s new health spokesperson, David Clark, to join the meeting for a free and frank discussion. David Clark has replaced Annette King in the shadow health portfolio, and the Executive were interested in his thoughts about the direction and priorities for public health care, as well as seeing the meeting as an opportunity to impress upon him some of the challenges facing specialists in New Zealand.

As always when meeting with politicians, ‘Chatham House rules’ apply but the Executive can report that it was a useful discussion and a good starting point for further engagement.

5. HWNZ proposed funding formula for vocational training

The Executive considered a report on the Health Workforce New Zealand (HWNZ) proposals to introduce a competitive, investment-disinvestment model for training medical postgraduates and other health professionals, and the initial reaction from some of the key professional bodies.

ASMS thinks the HWNZ proposed approach is unworkable and potentially damaging for a number of reasons, and has made a submission to this effect to HWNZ. This submission is available on the ASMS website at https://www.asms.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Submission-on-HWNZs-medical-training-paper-final_167986.2.pdf.

6. High performance high engagement

The Executive considered a report on the ‘high performance high engagement’ (HPHE) initiative currently being discussed in DHBs around the country. HPHE has been discussed by the Health Sector Relationship Agreement (HSRA) Steering Group following a national workshop on the subject (attended by ASMS).

HPHE heavily levers off the Kaiser Permanente experience in California and has been successfully in operation in Air New Zealand for some time, although it does have some critics and it does not include pilots. More recently, it has been piloted with some projects in Kiwi Rail, with both management and the union broadly positive about progress. The next step has been to hold a series of meetings in individual DHBs (three DHBs declined). One of the major difficulties has been the lack of a clear written description of what HPHE would mean in the DHB context.

After some discussion, the ASMS National Executive decided to reserve the Association’s position as the union through which senior medical and dental officers engage with DHBs as expressed in the MECA, and as evident from our longstanding commitment to distributive clinical leadership and engagement with DHBs, including the Time for Quality agreement (2008), In Good Hands (2009) and the joint ASMS-DHBs Business Case (2009).

Specifically, the Executive expressed the following reservations:

  • concerns about where HPHE fits in with clinically-led quality and systems improvement initiatives (distributive clinical leadership)
  • concerns about the overly structural approach and the risk of high transaction costs for ASMS industrial staff
  • lack of confidence in DHB leadership to the underpinning culture necessary to make the initiative succeed, reinforced by the unexpected attempt by the DHBs to undermine the consultation and engagement our MECA
  • limitations in the relevance of the Kaiser Permanente experience to DHBs.

7. Employment Relations Act Amendment Bill

The Executive considered a report on the Employment Relations (Allowing Higher Earners to Contract Out of Personal Grievance Provisions) Amendment Bill.

This private member’s bill proposes allowing parties to an individual employment agreement to negotiate a term that would deny the employee access to the personal grievance provisions of the Employment Relations Act, if the employment agreement provides for an annual gross salary of $150,000 or more.

ASMS made both a written and verbal submission to the parliamentary select committee considering the bill. We advised that the Bill’s purpose was misconceived, it would add significant additional complexity within the employment jurisdiction, it risked de-stabilisation of international labour markets, and the ethics of purchasing immunity for employers was suspect.

8. Branch officers national workshop

The annual ASMS branch officers workshop will be held on 14 August. The Executive agreed to focus on understanding the new MECA (subject to ratification; where to next if it isn’t ratified) and the constitutional review.

9. Bullying and harassment

The Executive considered an update on bullying and harassment issues. A taskforce was set up almost two years ago to look at bullying and harassment within the medical workforce, and ASMS has been involved in this group along with other representatives from across the DHB and professional medical sectors. ASMS had been seeking ways to better deal with bullying and complaints (both against and by members) before the taskforce was formed, and our industrial officers have been attending conferences and workshops to further understand the issues and formulate a response. This work is ongoing.

10. HSRA Steering Group

Executive considered a report on a meeting of the HSRA Steering Group, which was chaired by Whanganui DHB Chair Dot McKinnon and attended by DHB, Ministry of Health, and union representatives (including ASMS). Topics discussed included workforce strategy, care capacity demand management, the ‘high performance high engagement’ initiative, the future of work, and funding of vocational training.

11. Progress on non-DHB collective bargaining

The Executive considered a report on the progress of non-DHB collective bargaining, with approximately 233 ASMS members employed outside of DHBs. Non-DHB membership has increased each year since 2011. The focus has been on protecting non-DHB collective agreements from expiry while waiting for settlement of the ASMS-DHB MECA.

12. Advertised job vacancies

The Executive considered a report on job vacancies advertised on the ASMS website (https://jobs.asms.org.nz/listings). In the two months from 1 April to 31 May, 19 jobs were listed on the website (down on the previous period). If there are vacancies in your service, please encourage your service managers to advertise on the site.

13. NZMA national meetings

The Executive considered a report on the New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) annual general meeting and annual Council meeting, attended by the ASMS Executive Director. Chair Kate Baddock and Deputy Chair Harvey White were confirmed in their roles and the meetings discussed a range of other matters, including a constitutional amendment and progress on the rebuild of the NZMA’s Wellington building.

14. AMA-ASMOF industrial coordination meeting

The Executive considered a report on the twice yearly industrial coordination meeting of the Australian Medical Association and the Australian Salaried Medical Officers Federation in Canberra, attended by the ASMS Executive Director. Topics discussed included private patients in public beds, Victoria’s enterprise bargaining, medical staff inter-state remuneration comparisons, doctors-in-training suicides, collective bargaining in Western Australia, and a joint campaign against sexual harassment. ASMS gave presentations on the DHB MECA negotiations, the HWNZ proposed funding model for vocational training, and the direction of the Ministry of Health.

ASMS branch representatives: next Executive meeting

Members are invited to forward any issues they may wish to be raised with the National Executive at its next meeting on 31 August to your local Branch President or Vice President (this includes non-DHB employed members who work in the geographic area of these regions). It is possible branch officers might conclude that some of these matters might more appropriately be addressed by the national office.

Below is the list of branch officers:

Northland Ian Page
Lisa Dawson
Waitemata Jonathan Casement
Ywain Lawrey
Auckland Brigid Connor
Julian Vyas
Counties Manukau Helen Frith
Sylvia Boys
Waikato Annette van Zeist-Jongman
Annie Abraham
Lakes Andrew Klava
Andrew Robinson
Tauranga Matthias Seidel
Rod Gouldson
Whakatane Richard Forster
Guy Rosset
Taranaki Campbell White
Allan Binnie
Tairawhiti Angela Freschini
Mary Stonehouse
Hawke's Bay Kai Haidekker
Debra Chalmers
Whanganui Bernd Kraus
Mark Van de Vyver
Palmerston North Andy Spiers
John Bourke
Wairarapa Norman Gray
Naser Abdul-Ghaffar
Hutt Valley Neil Stephen
Jeff Suen
Wellington Justin Barry-Walsh
Sinead Donnelly
Nelson Clive Garlick
Marlborough Jeremy Stevens
By-election in progress
West Coast Paul Holt
Stuart Mologne
Canterbury Anja Werno
Geoffrey Shaw
South Canterbury Matthew Hills
Peter Doran
Otago Chris Wisely
John Chambers
Southland Tim Mackay
Roger Wandless


National Executive: Regional representatives

In addition to National President, Hein Stander (Gisborne) and Vice President, Julian Fuller (Waitemata), the Executive comprises eight regional representatives. They are:

Region 1 (Northland, Waitemata, Auckland, Counties Manukau)
Carolyn Fowler (Counties Manukau) carolyn@netinsites.com
Julie Prior (Waitemata) bugshack@xtra.co.nz
Region 2 (Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Lakes, Taranaki)
Paul Wilson (Bay of Plenty) pawlionly@gmail.com
Jeff Hoskins (Waikato) jeff.hoskins@gmail.com
Region 3 (Tairawhiti, Hawke’s Bay, Whanganui, MidCentral, Wairarapa, Hutt Valley, Capital & Coast)
Tim Frendin (Hawke’s Bay) tim.frendin@hawkesbaydhb.govt.nz
Jeff Brown (Palmerston North) jeff.brown@midcentraldhb.govt.nz
Region 4 (South Island)
Seton Henderson (Canterbury) seton.henderson@cdhb.govt.nz
Murray Barclay (Canterbury) murray.barclay@cdhb.health.nz

Members are welcome to raise issues and comments with their regional representatives above by clicking on the relevant email address. This includes non-DHB employed members who work in the geographic area of these regions.

Kind regards

Ian Powell