Te Whatu Ora is extremely disappointed the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) is indicating further industrial action by senior doctors and dentists, without letting their members know the details of the current pay offer.

The union conducted a ballot of members this week on holding two further strikes – one for 12 hours and another for 24 hours, on October 2 and 24 respectively.

“We are very concerned about the impact on patients from any ongoing industrial action, particularly those who may have been waiting for surgeries or appointments for some time,” Chief Executive Margie Apa says.

“Our planning teams have advised that the 12-hour strike will disrupt planned care for 500 patients, with 200 of them already waiting a long time. 

“The 24-hour strike will have a much greater impact, with up to 1700 patients’ care deferred, 350 of whom have been waiting for quite some time. That’s on top of 500 whose care has already been disrupted by the two strikes to date.

“That’s a real shame and will no doubt cause frustration and anxiety for those affected and their whānau.”

“We will endeavour to rebook the affected patients as soon as possible, but some may have to wait several weeks or months as schedules are so heavily booked. 

“Our goal to have no one waiting longer than 12 months for surgery by the end of December, except for orthopaedic, may be difficult to achieve now.”

Te Whatu Ora is urging the union to present the latest offer made at bargaining to our senior doctors and dentists, so they can judge for themselves.

“We have looked at every possibility to further improve the value of the offer, but to do this would involve finding it from elsewhere and we would need to do that work – something that is very difficult.

“We greatly value the work of our senior doctors and dentists and believe the offer presented to the union should be put in front of members – it includes salary increases over the next year of between 7% and 12.9%, amounting to between $15,000 and $26,000.

“We will be communicating this to the union at the next mediated talks on Tuesday.”

Meanwhile, contingency planning continues for a four-hour strike that had already been scheduled for next Thursday [September 21] from 10am-2pm.

We are urging patients who have an appointment or surgery scheduled at this time to attend unless they have been contacted.





Media contact: hnzmedia@health.govt.nz