SDHB's UK recruitment successful

The Southern District Health Board's (SDHB) British recruitment drive looks to have paid dividends.

A dozen resident medical officers (RMO; junior doctors) have accepted job offers.

In March, the Otago Daily Times reported the SDHB was one of 14 health authorities which had yet to have hired enough junior doctors to staff the new rosters designed to ensure safe work practices.

The rosters were a requirement to settle the RMOs' contract negotiations from the previous year.

Soon after the SDHB dispatched chief medical officer Nigel Millar to Britain, where he interviewed 27 candidates.

``We're pleased with the success of the recruitment campaign in the UK,'' SDHB operations general manager Megan Boivin said.

``So far 12 offers have been accepted, with a further two pending, which go some way in helping us to implement the rosters.

``We look forward to welcoming the new RMOs to Southern DHB.''

The SDHB is still unable to fill all the required safe staffing rosters, but now had enough doctors to fill 12 of the 14 schedules it was required
to, Ms Boivin said.

A report released yesterday highlighted the competition between DHBs to hire RMOs, with researchers concluding more than 300 junior hospital doctors needed to be hired nationwide to staff the rosters.

The research was commissioned by six DHBs, not including the SDHB.

It outlined several major issues with the new rosters, including a reduction of continuity between junior doctors and their patients, and between junior and senior doctors.

The report said the impact on service delivery of the rosters appeared to be significant.

``This is in part because hospital departments are running very lean, and it takes little disruption to push them beyond the limits at which they can offer stable and effective care.''

While direct costs arising from the rosters were significant, indirect impacts on training and service delivery represented a bigger challenge, it said.

``While there was a fairly strong view among many of our informants that there had been a real need to change rosters for RMOs, there was a widespread perception that the mechanisms adopted in the MECA were not the best approach.'' - Additional reporting RNZ

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