What We Do
The Association has two main roles in supporting better Healthcare:
1. Professional and Policy
In this role the ASMS:
- Promotes the right of equal access for all New Zealanders to high quality health services;
- Articulates our members’ professional concerns and interests to the Government and its various agencies, employers and the public at large;
- Advises members in their dealings with the media;
- Liaises with the Medical Protection Society to ensure effective representation for members facing disciplinary proceedings in clinical matters which may affect their employment;
- Has developed regular links with kindred professional organisations in North America and Europe. In particular we maintain close and regular contact with the Australian Medical Association, Australian Salaried Medical Officers Federation and British Medical Association;
- On the basis of our own experience and research we contribute to and promote informed public debate on matters relating to the provision of high quality health services to all New Zealanders.
2. As a union of health professionals (Industrial)
We will advise and represent members in respect of their employment agreements. Our primary roles are to:
- provide advice to salaried doctors and dentists who receive a job offer from a New Zealand employer;
- negotiate collective employment agreements with employers. This includes a national collective agreement “the MECA” covering employment of senior medical and dental staff in all district health boards; ensures minimum terms and conditions for more than 4,000 doctors and dentists, representing more than 90% of this workforce;
- improve employment conditions for our members;
- assist our members to apply and enforce their employment agreements;
- support workplace empowerment and clinical leadership.
We also advise members in respect of their individual employment rights and entitlements and may represent them when those rights and entitlements are threatened. We will also review offers of employment made to members.
The ASMS unashamedly promotes collective employment agreements through which we have achieved major advances for members.
Our collective agreements provide flexibility and allow individuals to negotiate additional matters important to them while ensuring a high level of uniformity throughout New Zealand in respect of our members’ core employment conditions. In this way they promote unity within the wider salaried medical and dental professions. We acknowledge however the benefits of supplementary individual job descriptions and will advise members in respect of them.
We discourage stand-alone individual agreements. These tend to place individuals in a vulnerable and weak position with their employers and are more likely to produce inequitable and disadvantageous outcomes. They also encourage secrecy and fragmentation within hospitals and the profession.
However the Association will assist members to negotiate individual agreements where we do not have a collective employment agreement with their employer.
Many of our members also have private practices but the Association does not advise or otherwise assist them in respect of their private practices. Our primary role is to advise and represent members in respect of their employment relationship with their employers.