14 Sep 2010

Junior doctors' employment talks scuttled

5:17 pm on 14 September 2010

Already tense relations between junior hospital doctors and their employers have taken a turn for the worse.

A scheduled second day of talks between the doctors and district health boards has been scuttled, with both sides offering contradictory accounts of how it happened.

DHB and doctors' advocates met in Auckland on Monday and were to meet again on Tuesday over proposed changes to doctors' employment contract.

DHBs are seeking significant changes to the employment contract, which they say are needed for workforce flexibility, accountability and other reasons. But the junior doctors union says it is a clawback of terms and conditions.

The Resident Doctors Association says it wants a similar interim pay rise as that achieved on Monday for senior hospital doctors, for 1%, while wider issues are addressed.

Advocates for the DHBs say they were at the planned meeting on Tuesday but the doctors did not show, informing them at mid-morning they saw no point in the discussions.

The doctors say they did attend, but the talks ended prematurely over their frustration at the inability of a trimmed down DHB side to make decisions without referring these back to the boards.