National 21 August 2018
Dear Member,

Welcome to the 13th 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

Forensic pathology in crisis

New Zealand’s national forensic pathology service is on the brink of collapse – and Justice Minister Andrew Little is refusing to intervene despite the advice of clinical experts. The seriousness of the situation cannot be over-stated.

ASMS is supporting forensic pathologists to raise concerns about the Ministry of Justice’s plans to dismantle the national service with the Minister of Justice, Andrew Little. The national service is provided by Auckland District Health through a contractual arrangement with the Justice Ministry.

We are very disappointed with Mr Little’s response to date. This is a very small workforce of subspecialists- who know the requirements of their work better than any official in the Ministry of Justice, but the Minister is choosing to take the advice of officials instead of clinical experts. This is despite the obvious absurdity of breaking up an integrated seven-pathologist national service into four services, including parts of it privatised.

The full ASMS media release on this issue, along with FAQs and copies of correspondence, can be read on our website at

Media coverage includes:

As things stand at the moment, ASMS is waiting for the response of Andrew Little to our third letter recommending that he maintain forensic pathology as a national service by taking it out of the wider coronial procurement process.  ASMS has also alerted the Prime Minister to the risks involved should the national service be fragmented and partly privatised.

Did you know… about the employer subsidy for your superannuation?

Clause 17.1 of the DHB MECA specifies that your employer will make the required employer contribution in respect of any of the superannuation schemes operated by the National Provident Fund or the Government Superannuation Fund to which you belong. If you do not belong to one of these, then Clause 17.2 of the MECA entitles you up to a 6% employer subsidy matching your contribution to an approved superannuation scheme, and ASMS encourages members to take advantage of this.

Kind regards,

Ian Powell