22 January 2009

NZMA is very concerned by the proposal of the three Auckland DHBs to reduce the number of Resident Medical Officer (RMO) vacancies down to the number of positions they can currently fill.

“This is an extremely short-sighted move” says NZMA Chair Dr Peter Foley. “It has taken us many years to identify the actual shortage of RMOs and this proposal will undermine that work. This merely hides the problem. “

“Moreover the decision to resolve the shortage of doctors by task delegation to other members of the health care team and/or by creating new roles ignores the fact that as well as critical shortages in medical practitioner numbers, we also have a severe shortage of nurses and others who might take on such tasks”.

The DHBs, and the Government have had years to seriously address New Zealand’s health workforce problems. This move by the Auckland DHBs seems to acknowledge defeat, rather than work with the Medical Training Board, the SMO and RMO Commissions that are currently trying to address the DHB medical workforce issues.

This move by the Auckland DHBs is unacceptable.