07 August 2009

The NZMA has warmly welcomed the release of the Director-General of Health RMO (Resident Medical Officer) Commission Report, but says the Government must implement the report’s key recommendations without delay.

"This report, in conjunction with the SMO’s Commission Report released recently, provides very clear recommendations in respect of the doctors in training workforce," says NZMA Chair Dr Peter Foley.

"There must be explicit recognition that RMOs are primarily ‘in training’ and their service provision function is secondary. It is crucial that the apprenticeship model of training is supported by encouraging and protecting the time for Senior Medical Officers to provide that training."

Dr Foley says there are parts of the report that require further assessment.
"We are not yet convinced that a single national employer of RMOs is the best way to move forward, but there is certainly a need for employment and human resources processes to be streamlined. There must be a cultural change that values and respects RMOs’ role, and moves us away from the current dissatisfaction and repeated industrial unrest."

The NZMA says the Government must make improving working and training conditions of RMOs a top priority so that New Zealand is able to better recruit and retain its doctors.

"To ensure a viable future health system, I expect this Government to move rapidly to solve this festering area of our health workforce problems."