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.

  • ASMS Directs – National Direct

ASMS Direct – Issue 2016-3

17 May 2016 Ian Powell

Dear Member

  1. ASMS-DHB MECA negotiations update
  2. APAC forum: Special price for asms members
  3. Nominations for Health Practitioner Disciplinary Tribunal
  4. Harkness Fellowships programme
  5. When your patients is wearing thin
  6. Did you know…about the Vulnerable Children’s Act key worker requirements?
  7. ASMS website items

ASMS-DHB MECA negotiations update

Negotiations are underway for the fifth MECA covering ASMS members employed by the 20 DHBs. Talks started on 5 May and will resume this Friday, with more dates set for June and July.

Regular updates on the progress (or lack of) in the negotiations will be sent to you as a Bargaining Bulletin, either electronically or by mail for those members who have not provided email addresses. The first of these has been sent and is now available on the ASMS website at

This first Bargaining Bulletin introduces the ASMS team, outlines the ASMS claim, and gives a brief overview of the first two days of negotiations.

APAC forum: Special price for ASMS members

Some significant savings can be made on the cost of registration for this year’s APAC Forum in Sydney if you book your seat before 31 May. The organisers are offering a preferential rate to ASMS members, meaning savings of up to $404 on the price of a Forum ticket.

Details of the special deal are available at

APAC is organised each year by Ko Awatea and features presentations and workshops on a wide range of topics, with an emphasis on innovation and improvement in health. This year’s Forum is being held on 12 – 14 September, and more information is at

Nominations for Health Practitioner Disciplinary Tribunal

There’s still time – just – to put yourself or someone else forward for appointment to the Health Practitioner Disciplinary Tribunal. The Ministry of Health is calling for nominations or applications by 20 May.

The ad is on the Ministry’s website at

Any questions about the advertisement or the process should be sent to

Harkness Fellowships programme

The Commonwealth Fund is inviting you to a webinar series on the Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice to hear from senior staff, international Harkness partners, and Harkness Fellows and alumni about the programme.

The webinar for Australian and New Zealand applicants is on 2 June, and more details are at

More information about the Harkness programme generally is available at

The Commonwealth Fund’s Harkness Fellowships provide an opportunity for researchers and practitioners to spend up to 12 months in the United States carrying out original research and working with leading US health policy experts.

When your patients is wearing thin

A little something to make you smile, courtesy of the Nursing Review NZ:

Did you know…about the Vulnerable Children’s Act key worker requirements?

This is critical information and you must act now if you think you may need to apply for an exemption…

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 includes a Workforce Restriction, which prohibits the employment of people with certain serious criminal convictions as core children’s workers, unless they hold a Core Worker Exemption.

Under this legislation, every doctor must be cleared as being safe to work with children.

If a person has convictions under section 2 of the act, they must apply for a Core Worker Exemption, before 1 July.

If you have any doubts about whether you have achieved the necessary clearances to continue to work with children you can find more information here.

You are also welcome to contact your local industrial officer for further advice.

ASMS website items

The following items can be downloaded from

  1. Budget will make Canterbury DHB most underfunded in country, says Labour (Stuff)
  2. Access to mental health and addiction services (Government media release)
  3. International Nurses Day (various)
  4. Term extended for Southern DHB commissioner (Government media release)
  5. Telehealth service helps 14,000 Kiwis a week (Government media release)
  6. Dramatic turnaround in medical staffing shortages at rural hospitals (NZ Doctor)
  7. Doctors slam Compass food (Otago Daily Times)
  8. The 500-year-old cause of the doctors’ strike (The Lancet)
  9. Smoke and mirrors on Pharmac funding (Labour Party media release)

Orthopaedics trainees to return (Otago Daily Times).

Kind regards

Ian Powell