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.

  • News – Other News

Medical advisor union seeks court injunction against ‘cavalier’ ACC

11 July 2018 Simon Maude - New Zealand Doctor

The union representing most ACC medical advisors wants the courts to block a proposed job restructure affecting 120 staff.

Today the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists is seeking an urgent injunction from the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) to halt ACC’s plans.

Association senior industrial officer Lloyd Woods says ACC’s proposal to disestablish 100 jobs in its clinical services directorate is “unlawful and causing unnecessary stress for affected staff”.

Mr Woods says ACC’s proposal is “fundamentally unfair” and it breaches the collective agreement covering medical advisors.

Employment law prevents the association’s members from striking over ACC’s proposed restructure, so it is seeking the ERA injunction instead, Mr Woods says.

The association also has stopwork action planned on 17 July over what it claims is months-long foot-dragging by ACC over agreeing to a new collective contract which bolsters redundancy provisions.

ACC responds 

Spokesman James Funnell says consultation on the proposed changes has only recently been completed.

“We are currently considering the feedback.

“A final decision on the changes has not yet been made.”

Mr Woods says ACC had indicated it would finalise its restructuring plans by the start of August.

“But we’re not waiting for that, we’re don’t trust ACC are going to respond by then.

“ACC has a habit of taking a cavalier attitude to people’s jobs, making a nonsense of their mantra about putting people ahead of processes. The callous disregard they’re showing in this situation for people who are anxious about the future of their employment is just staggering.”

What’s proposed? 

ACC’s clinical services directorate restructure proposal will see 120 roles disestablished and replaced with 116 new roles.

In May, the association said ACC wants to cut specialist medical advisor full-time equivalent (FTE) positions from 36.4 to 30, limiting the number of experienced medical advisors who can contribute to claim advice.

But ACC external communications manager James Funnell says ACC is in fact proposing an increase in “front line clinical advisors” from 79.8 to 87.2 FTEs.