National 23 February 2017
Dear Member,

Welcome to the 2nd issue for 2017 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

RMO MECA progress – so is it our turn now?

At long last it looks as if the impasse in the resident medical officers’ MECA negotiations is coming to an end, with the Resident Doctors Association pleased to report progress has been with the DHBs (

The agreement reached between the two negotiating teams on 21 February still requires ratification (RDA members for RDA and all chief executives for the 20 DHBs). This should be confirmed by 2 March when the latter group meets. Developments in ASMS’s MECA negotiations with the DHBs were reported to affected members in the recent Bargaining Bulletin:

Chair of the Medical Council of New Zealand

Andrew Connolly has been re-elected – unanimously – as chairperson of the Medical Council of New Zealand for a further year. He joined the Medical Council in 2009, was elected deputy chair in 2012 and was first elected as chairperson in 2014.

He is a general and colorectal surgeon employed by Counties Manukau DHB, and an ASMS member of longstanding. ASMS has had a very good working relationship with Andrew Connolly in his role with the Medical Council. We have appreciated his engaging and pragmatic approach when discussing issues of concern. ASMS congratulates him on his well-deserved re-election to this important position.

Requesting feedback on RACS programmes

In 2017, the Australian Medical Council (AMC) and the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) are assessing the training, education, and continuing professional development programmes provided by the Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS), and they’re requesting feedback on the programmes being assessed.

More information, including background on the assessment process and the relevant questions, is available here:

Links are included here to background information on the assessment process and the relevant questions for the assessment. 

The AMC would like to receive feedback by Monday 13 March 2017, and this can be emailed in a PDF or Word format to Any questions can be directed to Jane Porter, Manager, Specialist Training and Program Assessment, at

Did you know… about leave on full pay after an accident?

In the event of an accident, or any other sick leave, you are entitled to reasonable leave on full pay.

For many DHB employees this will be quite straightforward, with ACC paying 80% of earnings and the employer paying the balance of 20% to ensure you receive your usual full pay.

However, the actual ACC payment is capped and for most SMOs (and all full-time SMOs) the capped ACC contribution will be much less than 80% of their salary.  In these cases, the DHB is required by the MECA to make up the difference between the ACC payment and their full salary; in other words, to pay more than 20% if needs be.

It is very important that if you are on sick leave through injury that the ACC payment is topped up by the DHB to whatever amount is necessary to give full pay.  You should check your pay any time you are “on ACC”.

If you have any concerns, please contact your ASMS Industrial Officer for assistance.

Kind regards

Ian Powell
Executive Director