EXECUTIVE 12 May 2017
Dear Member,

This is the second 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 22 June.

The meeting discussed DHB MECA negotiations, changes in Executive membership, ASMS membership numbers, a meeting of the medical workforce taskforce, a request for support for the ‘WeCare’ campaign, concerns over recertification for vocational registration, non-DHB collective bargaining, meetings of the Health Sector Relationship Agreement Steering Group, and the Council of Trade Unions Affiliates Council, and the focus of a colleges’ medical symposium in Melbourne.

1. DHB MECA negotiations

The Executive Director reported on the informal MECA discussions that had taken place with the DHBs pending formal resumption of negotiations on 15 May and continuing 24 and 31 May. Some time was spent discussing the negotiations and issues arising, which we have reported on to members previously in our series of Bargaining Bulletins (https://www.asms.org.nz/publications/bargaining-bulletin/).

2. Executive changes and membership update

Following Jeanette McFarlane’s resignation from the National Executive (reported previously), Julie Prior was elected as a Region 1 representative (four northern DHB districts). Julie is a medical officer at Waitemata DHB working in emergency medicine and is also on the ASMS MECA negotiating team. She completed her medical training in the United Kingdom before moving to New Zealand in 2003.

The Executive considered a report on ASMS membership, which remains high at 4416 members employed by DHBs and non-DHBs, an increase on the previous year. As at the end of March 2017 we had 91.4% membership of eligible permanently-employed potential members in DHBs.

3. Medical workforce taskforce meeting

The Executive considered a report of a recent meeting of the medical workforce taskforce group, convened by Health Workforce New Zealand. This meeting was chaired by Ken Clark, MidCentral DHB’s Chief Medical Officer and chair of the Chief Medical Officers’ Forum. Attendees included representation from ASMS, the Medical Council, NZMA and its Doctors-in-Training Council, HWNZ, NZMSA, RNZCGP, University of Auckland, Council of Medical Colleges, ACC, DHB chief executives, and the Ministry of Health.

The meeting discussed a range of matters including the proposal for a new national school of rural health, the proposed funding model for vocational training, the Waikato Medical School proposal, PGY! Placements, and RMO and SMO workforce survey data.

The proposal for a new national school of rural health is an attempt to give rural health the same status academically as other clinical areas. It will require significant new funding and capital works development, and is supported by HWNZ. The meeting agreed that it was a very worthy proposal which had arisen out of a rigorous, considered and collaborative process.

There was considerable discussion about the Waikato Medical School proposal, with questions raised about the rigour of the business case, the potential impact on existing medical schools, and capacity and funding concerns.

4. Proposed change to funding model for vocational training

The Health Workforce New Zealand top down driven proposed funding model for vocational training was discussed at the same meeting. It generated much discussion and serious concern at the Executive meeting.

These concerns include the contestability model that underpins the proposal, differences between medical and other health professionals, the contractual nature of the Pharmac model proposed by HWNZ, our view that funding vocational training should be more relational, the lack of problem definition, and the lack of clear basis for the assumptions being made about what would result from the proposed funding model.

Arising out of this discussion the Executive decided to make a submission to HWNZ outlining the risks and concerns with the proposal, and to also actively raise these risks and concerns.

5. Public Service Association ‘WeCare’ campaign

The Executive considered a request to support the ‘WeCare’ campaign organised by the Public Service Association. The campaign is focusing on the Government’s under-funding of health, and it is supported either practically or in principle by a number of other unions, including FIRST, E-tū, Unite and NZNO. Two main actions have been launched to date; a survey of DHB health staff and a roadshow around the country involving cardboard cut-out characters, which has generated significant media coverage.

The Executive decided to support the campaign in principle and its objective of not under-funding the public health system.

6. Consultation on strengthening recertification for vocational registration

The Executive considered a report on the Medical Council’s standards for recertification, including a letter we had written to the Medical Council, and a submission from the NZMA. The ASMS letter outlined our concerns with the basis for the recertification proposal, which seemed to us to be a solution in search of a problem.

From what we could see, there was nothing to demonstrate a problem existed with the practice of doctors in New Zealand or a problem with the standards required of vocationally registered doctors by any medical college. We expressed scepticism as to whether setting more onerous standards for colleges to require of their members was the right approach, or indeed if it was the proper role of the regulator to attempt to set standards which would undoubtedly become operational matters. We also expressed concern that the proposed changes would prove costly in terms of time, money and staffing.

Medical Council Chair Andrew Connolly joined the Executive for part of the meeting to discuss the issues raised in our letter and to provide further clarification on a number of points. This was a very useful and frank discussion which the Executive valued. As a result, we asked him to write an article about the recertification issues for the June issue of The Specialist magazine, which he agreed to do.

7. Non-DHB collective negotiations

The Executive considered an update on collective bargaining in the non-DHB sector. There are now approximately 231 ASMS members employed outside of DHBs, with 18 agreements now in place. Most of those linked to the DHB MECA were planned for renegotiation after the DHB MECA in 2016 but, given the DHB MECA has not yet been settled, ASMS may need to look at renegotiation of these collective agreements (and the national hospice MECA) before the DHB MECA is settled.

8. Health Sector Relationship Agreement

The Executive Director reported on a meeting of the tripartite Health Sector Relationship Agreement (HSRA) Steering Group in March. This meeting was attended by representatives from the main CTU affiliated health unions (ASMS, NZNO, PSA and E-tū), Ministry of Health, and the DHB.

The meeting discussed various issues including health and safety legislation and responsibilities, a recent ‘High Performance High Engagement’ forum, Ministry of Health activities and priorities, and workplace bullying and harassment.

9. Council of Trade Unions

The Executive considered a report on a meeting of the Council of Trade Unions National Affiliates Council. Each meeting of the Council begins with a minute’s silence for people who have died, and the passing of ASMS Whanganui Branch President Dr Chris Cresswell was acknowledged. The main topics of discussion were an update on equal pay campaigning, implementation of the main points of the CTU’s strategic direction, and the proposed TiSA and RCEP agreements. These free trade agreements are part of the broader globalisation of health care and have significant potential implications for public health issues and health delivery in New Zealand.

10. Tri-nation Alliance Medical Symposium in Melbourne

The Executive also considered a report on the Tri-Nation Alliance International Medical Symposium which was held in Melbourne in March and attended by ASMS Executive Director Ian Powell, Policy and Research Director Lyndon Keene and Principal Analyst Charlotte Chambers. Meetings were also held with representatives of the Victoria branch of the Australian Medical Association. This year’s medical symposium focused on culture in medicine, indigenous health care, changes in medical education and leading changes in systems and practice.

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 22 June 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
Andrew Munro
Marlborough By-election in progress Jeremy Stevens
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