National 31 August 2021
Kia ora

We know that for many of you this is a very stressful time. I want to acknowledge the uncertainty about how the pandemic will unfold, the additional pressure on services, and the disruption to acute and elective work. We hope that you and the people in your bubble are hanging in there.

We’ve put together some guidance on some of the key issues that have been arising, which you can find on our website here.

I need to update you on some of the changes we have made because of the current situation.

Annual Conference

We have reluctantly decided to hold our Annual Conference as a virtual event, on 25 November. This will now be a one-day meeting with the AGM, an address from the Health Minister, and a limited speaking programme. This was not a decision taken lightly, but executive have decided to take a conservative approach — both in not trying to second guess possible lockdown levels come November; and to give you certainty about at least one aspect of your working lives!

The doctor artists exhibition will still run — and if you live outside Wellington you will be able to view the exhibits online. We know it’s not quite the same, but we hope you will still send in your work so that we can celebrate the creative aspect of many doctors’ and dentists’ lives – even if we have to do so from a safe distance!

If lockdown levels permit we will look at a limited opening event, but this will be nothing like the usual pre-conference extravaganza many of you have enjoyed over the years.


All of our third round JCC meetings will now be held virtually, starting with Capital & Coast DHB on 3 September.
Here’s a link to the JCC calendar on our website to check the location and time in your DHB.
We’ve asked staff from the Transition Unit (which is tasked with overseeing the development of Health NZ and the Māori Health Authority) to attend some of the JCC pre-meetings – so you can speak directly to them about workforce issues and priorities for Health NZ.  We hope that many of you will be able to attend. All members are welcome to attend any part of the JCC pre-meeting (members only) and meeting with DHB executives.
If you have questions about these meetings, or items to contribute, please contact your local industrial officer
If you would like the full JCC agenda and details sent to you ahead of each meeting, please contact

MECA survey

Thanks for the great MECA survey response rate. About 65% of you took part. We are busy analysing these and the results will be discussed in the September edition of The Specialist, and in a MECA Matters update in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, stay safe and keep in touch — we appreciate the questions, comments and ideas that many of you take time to send.

Ngā mihi

Sarah Dalton