NATIONAL 12 October 2018
Dear Member,

Welcome to the 15th 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

Feedback sought on Royal Society paper on gene editing

The Royal Society Te Apārangi has published a discussion paper inviting feedback on scenarios for the use of gene editing in the primary industry sector. The paper outlines the relevant considerations, risks and potential benefits for five scenarios of how gene editing could be used for primary production sectors including agriculture, forestry and horticulture.

The paper is part of the Society’s larger Gene Editing in Aotearoa project, for which a multidisciplinary expert panel and reference group have been brought together to explore the wider social, cultural, legal and economic implications of gene editing in New Zealand, incorporating Māori perspectives and broader cultural contexts. The discussion paper has a companion technical summary with full details, and follow on from resources produced last year to explain the underpinning gene-editing technology.

Any feedback on these can be sent to Dr Marc Rands, Senior Researcher, at

Reminder to complete ‘Snapshot’ survey on Schedule 10

You will have been sent an invitation to complete a brief ‘Snapshot’ survey about Schedule 10 of the RDA MECA. Your feedback will help ASMS gauge what members know about Schedule 10, which has been a topic of discussion at recent Joint Consultation Committee (JCC) meetings we have been having with DHB chief executives and senior managers.

Schedule 10 (‘Safer Rosters’) is the schedule of the RMO MECA negotiated by the Resident Doctors’ Association and the DHBs in the last MECA negotiations, the settlement of which followed acrimonious negotiations that included two national strikes. It has become necessary for ASMS to inject itself into the process of the application of Schedule 10 (arguably Schedule 10 implicitly at least implies this).  The purpose of the ‘Snapshot’ is to better inform us of SMO understanding of the specific detail of Schedule 10.

Any question about this snapshot survey can be sent to ASMS Principal Analyst Charlotte Chambers at

Pilot survey on gender pay equity for ASMS members

ASMS is conducting a pilot survey on gender pay equity within New Zealand’s senior medical workforce.

In August 2018, the Government department  Statistics New Zealand estimated that there is a 9.2% gender pay gap in New Zealand. At present, we do not know if there is a gender pay gap for salaried senior doctors or dentists. Recent analysis of the annual ASMS salary survey suggests that women doctors remain under-represented on the top step of the ASMS salary scale. Analysis of the proportion of women on the top step between 2007 and 2018 suggests the gap between male and women doctors is unlikely to be due to cohort effects, that is, a gap that is likely to close with more women entering into the medical workforce and working their way up the salary scale. Indeed, research suggests that gender wage gaps increase with age and the length of time spent in the same job (Sin et al 2017). Reducing inequity has benefits for the whole medical team so it is vital that we understand what is going on for our members. 

Members’ names have been randomly selected and if you are sent the pilot survey, we strongly encourage you to participate. The survey itself will take about five minutes to complete, and will be sent out on Monday 15 October.

If you have questions, feel free to contact Principal Analyst Charlotte Chambers

Surveys of clinical leaders on SMO staffing needs

ASMS is continuing to build a detailed picture of SMO staffing needs within DHBs as described by clinical leaders. We have carried out a number of surveys of clinical leaders, and these have provided insights into SMO shortages.

These surveys provide an overview of the staffing situation at a particular point in time, but nevertheless yield useful information about the pressures on services and departments.

The percentage of SMO shortages recorded at the time of the surveys are included in brackets.

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

Clause 17.2 of the MECA entitles you to an employer subsidy matching your contribution dollar for dollar up  to a maximum of 6% to an approved superannuation scheme and ASMS encourages members to take advantage of this.

Kind regards

Angela Belich