National 9 September 2016
Dear Member,

Welcome to the sixth issue for 2016 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

  1. NZRDA’s open letter to ASMS members on safer rostering
  2. Reminder: Enter in your diary now – ASMS Annual Conference, 17-18 November
  3. Did you know...about leave for meetings?


NZRDA’s open letter to ASMS members on safer rostering

The New Zealand Resident Doctors Association has written an open letter to ASMS members about the NZRDA’s campaign for safer hours. A full copy of the letter is available here.

NZRDA President Dr Sara Moeke writes that NZRDA has been in negotiations for a DHB MECA since December 2015 and that they are still looking for progress on the issue of fatigue. As she says in the letter, fatigue is something you will all remember well from your days as an RMO and something you may still be experiencing today. As SMOs, you will have also seen the effects of fatigue on RMO clinical performance and decision-making.

RMOs want to work no more than 4 nights in a row. Dr Moeke says they will still work all the nights, simply in two blocks of 4 and 3 rather than a continuous stretch of 7. They also wish to work no more than 10 days in a row with 4 days off in that fortnight.

The NZRDA is keen to make sure you are informed about its campaign for safer rostering and the reasons for it. After months of bargaining without substantive progress on key issues, it has also requested urgent mediation which is due to go ahead on 12 September.

Reminder: Enter in your diary now – ASMS Annual Conference, 17-18 November

The ASMS Annual Conference will be held in Wellington on 17-18 November (Thursday-Friday). This will cover a range of relevant health policy and industrial issues. Assessing the progress of the national DHB MECA negotiations, which commenced in May, will be a major issue. The Minister of Health has confirmed that he will again speak and be available for Q&A.

You are encouraged to enter this into your diaries and advise our Membership Support Officer Kathy Eaden at if you are interested in attending.

Did you know...about leave for meetings?

SMOs “elected, seconded or otherwise appointed” are entitled to leave on full pay in order to attend professional meetings, including those of MOH, HPDT, medical and dental colleges, NZMA, NZDA and, of course, ASMS. This clause also applies if you are invited to teach and/or assess trainees for your college or professional association. SMOS may be granted leave for other bodies but these must be agreed with the employer.

You can read the full clause here:

Kind regards,

Ian Powell