National 25 January 2022
Kia ora

Nau mai, haere mai - Welcome to 2022.

Your President Dr Julian Vyas and I have put ourselves in front of the camera to give you a quick rundown of three of the key areas of work for ASMS as we kick the year off:

  • The MECA
  • The new Māori Advisory Committee to National Executive
  • The health reforms


Link to YouTube video message from Sarah Dalton and Dr Julian Vyas

Extra pay for extra work

With the arrival of Omicron you may be asked to do extra work. While this may be expected, it is not reasonable to pick up extra duties or to cover for missing colleagues without pay for additional duties. If your service has existing additional duties arrangements, these should apply. If you need advice or help to establish fair rates for additional duties, please contact your local industrial officer.

Advice on redeployment

A leaked memo from Auckland DHB says doctors have been told to prepare to be drafted into other roles if Omicron hits hard. We were asked about this on RNZ and you can listen here. We will keep close tabs on developing advice regarding redeployment or other Omicron-related duties, but in the meantime you can follow existing advice, which we will continue to update. We also have medico-legal advice from MPS if you are worried about working outside your scope during the pandemic, along with other FAQs.

A health workforce emergency

We know you are carrying very heavy workloads and are battling just to do business as usual – and that’s before Omicron really takes off resulting in significant predicted staff absences. We published an opinion piece in the NZ Herald pointing out that hospitals are already stretched due to severe staffing shortages and are at breaking point. It calls on DHBs and the Government to declare a health workforce emergency and prioritise recruitment and retention of our highly skilled senior doctors through improved pay and conditions and resourcing. You can read it here. The media is always keen to hear about what is happening directly from SMO/SDOs, so if you are willing to publicly (or even anonymously) share your own experience, please contact our media advisor Liz Brown

Experiences of Māori doctors – please take part!

Te Whakahaumaru Taiao is a Health Research Council-funded project by a Māori-led team of researchers and health professionals on racism, bullying, discrimination and harassment experienced by Māori medical students and doctors, and how these impact on health and wellbeing and career outcomes. The project has ethics approval from the Auckland Health Research Ethics Committee (AH22702). If you want more information and are interested in taking part in their survey, please go to their website.

National study about barriers in care

A research team from the University of Auckland Psychological Medicine and Te Kupenga Hauora Māori Departments is looking for doctors to participate in a study about institutional barriers to care. The study has locality approvals from most of the DHBs and has been approved by the University of Auckland Ethics Committee and Responsiveness to Māori. They are seeking doctors and healthcare professionals (particularly Māori, Pasifika and other minority groups) who have regular contact with patients as part of their job, to take part in an anonymous 20-minute online questionnaire to help understand how organisational factors influence provision of care. You will even have the chance to go into a draw to win an iPad mini. If you’re interested you can find out more here.

The arrival of Omicron means we will be restricting our travel and visits to members in their own workplaces, so it will be a return to Zoom for most meetings. We are in the process of checking in with each DHB about the planned JCCs, but it seems likely that we will be zooming again… we really hope to see you.

I hope you all weather this latest storm which Omicron brings. Remember, please get in touch with any local or personal issues which ASMS needs to know about so we can continue to advocate on your behalf.

Ngā mihi o te tau hou!

Sarah Dalton