DHB's offer too little, senior medical and dental specialists told

Association of Salaried Medical Specialists president Dr Julian Vyas presented union concerns at...
Association of Salaried Medical Specialists president Dr Julian Vyas presented union concerns at the Hutton Theatre on Tuesday. Photo: Gregor Richardson
The collective agreement offer from New Zealand’s district health boards has fallen far short of where it needs to be, the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists president says.

Dr Julian Vyas addressed about 60 senior medical and dental staff at the Hutton Theatre, in Dunedin, yesterday during nationwide stopwork meetings amid stalled negotiations for the multi-employer collective agreement with New Zealand’s 20 DHBs.

The union has been negotiating with DHBs since February and the two sides had a lot more work to do to reach an agreement, Dr Vyas said.

The Auckland respiratory paediatrician said union research indicated there was a shortfall of about 24% in senior medical and dental staff numbers across the country.

And that shortfall had not changed for more than a decade.

"That means there’s more pressure.

"You’re dealing with patients’ lives, you’re making life-changing decisions.

"That means that over time doctors and dentists will become more fatigued.

"We know that there are higher levels of burnout."

Half of the association’s members were showing signs of burnout, he said.

But pay was also an issue.

Dr Vyas said all New Zealanders, including senior medical staff who earned more than $100,000, should be able to expect their pay would keep up with an increasing cost of living.

"Anybody with any job in New Zealand should not see their earnings in relation to costs going down."

The stopwork meetings were continuing this week and next, he said.

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

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