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ASMS - working for better health care in New Zealand

The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) is the professional association and union uniting doctors and dentists in New Zealand. READ MORE

Employment advice and support for salaried medical specialists and one stop shop for those seeking senior doctor jobs in New Zealand hospitals and health sector.

Latest News & Reports

25th Anniversary

29 July 2014

More money is urgently needed to avoid a looming mental health crisis, says Canterbury District Health Board Chief Executive David Meates. He told The Press that unprecedented growth in demand for mental health over the past three years showed no sign of slowing and was unsustainable. The DHB had run out of resources to address further increases within its current budget. The full article is available here.

28 July 2014

Australia must reject provisions in the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement that could undermine the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and compromise the ability of governments to improve public health, according to the Australian Medical Association (AMA). The AMA has voiced fears the proposed trade deal is out of balance and advances commercial interests at the expense of patient health. The full AMA media release is available here.

28 July 2014

A rise in complaints against doctors reflects the role of social media and negative press coverage of the medical profession, according to a report commissioned by the General Medical Council and reported by the BBC. Complaints by the public against doctors doubled between 2007 and 2012. The full article is available here.

28 July 2014

The new Minister of Health faces challenges to do with a vulnerable medical specialist workforce, intense financial pressure on district health boards, pervasive micro-management, and an increasingly ‘control and command’ leadership culture in hospitals, ASMS Executive Director Ian Powell told the Hospital and Community Dentistry Conference at Taupo on Saturday. The full text of his speech is available here. His address was also reported on Stuff.

24 July 2014

We welcome any feedback on the contents of the 9th issue for 2014 of ASMS Direct, our national electronic publication. This issue covers the following matters: Supporting Nurses Entry to Practice; Vancouver media coverage of Fraser Health Authority under Nigel Murray’s leadership; Survey of new DHB appointees; Reminder: ASMS 25th Anniversary Celebration, 26 August; APAC 2014; ASMS Annual Conference, November 2014; ASMS homepage news items.


23 July 2014

Of all the ways to limit health care costs, perhaps none is as popular as cutting payments to doctors, writes cardiologist Sandeep Jauhar in the New York Times. In recent years, payment cuts have resulted in a sharp downturn in revenue for many hospitals and private practices. What this has meant for most physicians is that in order to maintain their income, they’ve had to see more patients. His full column can be read here.

23 July 2014

Devi Sridhar and colleagues argue in the BMJ that the World Health Organization's unique political legitimacy makes it essential to achieving international action on global health and call for governments to re-establish guaranteed core funding. The article can be read here.

23 July 2014

Pilots are often a quick fix that fail or prove too costly to last, writes David Oliver, a fellow at the King's Fund. Such a fragmented approach must stop to improve patient safety. The full article is available here.

23 July 2014

Up to 12 million Britons – or one in four adults – could be prescribed cholesterol-lowering statin drugs to ward off possible heart attacks and strokes, under guidance to doctors issued by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). The Financial Times reports that NICE has halved the threshold for being offered treatment – from a 20 percent risk of developing cardiovascular disease in the next 10 years, to a 10 percent risk.

22 July 2014

The national organ donation service at Auckland District Health Board has been put on notice by an official information watchdog after it was caught out deleting public records. Organ donation campaigner Andy Tookey asked Organ Donation NZ for a copy of a computer presentation on a national audit of deaths in intensive care unit. The DHB refused his request on privacy grounds and Mr Tookey appealed to the Office of the Ombudsman. Now he has been told the DHB no longer holds the requested information. The full news article can be read here.


11 June 2014

Dr Hein Stander, President


11 June 2014

Russell Tregonning, OraTaiao

11 June 2014

Ian Powell, Executive Director

11 June 2014

Lyndon Keene, Researcher

In Depth

Advice to incoming Minister of Health: Progressing beyond verbicide, whangdoodles and arsy-varsy to grok

An address by Ian Powell, ASMS Executive Director, to the Hospital & Community Dentistry Conference, Taupo, 26 July 2014.

Did the 2014 Budget provide enough for Health?

This analysis compares the 2014 Budget with the analysis the CTU carried out prior to the Budget. Written by Bill Rosenberg, Policy Director/Economist, NZCTU and Lyndon Keene, Researcher, Association of Salaried Medical Specialists.

Pincer Movement Traps Public Hospitals

An address by Ian Powell, ASMS Executive Director, to the Australian Medical Association Industrial Coordination Meeting on New Zealand's Public Hospitals: Trapped in a Pincer Movement, 3-4 April 2014.

DHBs FAILING over distributive clinical leadership (The Specialist, Issue 98, March 2014)

Late last year the ASMS surveyed DHB-employed members on distributive clinical leadership in DHBs. This followed an earlier survey which awarded most DHBs an abysmal E-Grade when it came to committing to time for non-clinical duties to support clinical engagement by senior doctors and dentists. Our most recent survey aimed, among other things, to further explain this poor state of affairs.

Health and the proposed Transpacific Partnership Agreement (The Specialist, Issue 98, March 2014)

Economist, Bill Rosenberg of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions writes about the serious concerns for health resulting from the proposed TPPA. If completed, the TPPA is designed to have profound effects on New Zealand and its other members which will be very difficult to reverse.

Health Dialogue" Waitemata DHB's 'Package of Care' Elective surgery model: A costly experiment?

The latest Health Dialogue publication from ASMS.

Building Capacity amongst Specialist Disciplines: Swans and Legs

An address by Ian Powell, ASMS Executive Director, to the Future Healthcare Workforces Conference in Auckland, 19 June 2013.

The Public Hospital Specialist Workforce: Entrenched shortages or workforce investment?

A comprehensive report by the ASMS on key issues concerning the demand and supply of specialists in New Zealand public hospitals. Public hospitals are not retaining enough of the specialists we train, are not recruiting enough specialists to fill the gap, and are not retaining many of those we do actually manage to recruit.

Core Documents

ASMS Annual Report 2013

The Annual Report covers the full range of ASMS' activities over the past year.

Clinical Leadership - a definition

Members have requested that we post a definition of "Clinical Leadership" on our website - a concise definition can be found here.

Medical Council Memorandum of Understanding with DHBs

This memorandum of understanding is far more detailed and comprehensive than the statement of collaboration they've had in the past.

Minister of Health's Letter(s) of Expectations

This year the Minister of Health has issued at least two letters of expectations to the District Health Boards.

Joint ASMS-DHB Quality and Patient Safety Improvement Plan

November 2011

This plan was a key outcome of the 2010-2011 MECA negotiations process

The Business Case: Securing a Sustainable Senior Medical and Dental Officer Workforce in New Zealand

November 2010

Jointly developed by the DHBs and ASMS, this document provides a blueprint for the future direction of a clinically and financially sustainable health system.

Time for Quality

August 2008

The Time for Quality agreement was developed between the ASMS and the 21 DHBs with the support of the Minister of Health.

In Good Hands

Report from Ministerial Task Group on Clinical Leadership, 2009

The In Good Hands report recommends introducing comprehensive clinical leadership in DHBs
(Minister of Health's Media release).

Joint Agreement between ASMS and GPNZ (formerly IPAC)

ASMS and GPNZ's statement of agreed necessities for the Health System.

Clinical Governance Development Index in DHBs

Results of the member survey as per Robin Gauld's presentation to ASMS' Conference 2010

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